$70 entrance fee proposed for Rocky Mountain National Park amid record crowds

The president of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, Susan Sherman, anxious the fee increase would discourage people from visiting.

The National Park Service has announced a proposal to more than double the peak-season entrance fees at the country's busiest national parks, including Shenandoah, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.

The five-month contiguous periods would be implemented in three separate phases. For California's Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon, as well as such blockbusters as Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon and Glacier, the $70 price would apply May 1 through September 30.

The 17 parks listed are: Acadia; Arches; Bryce Canyon; Canyonlands; Denali; Glacier; Grand Canyon; Grand Teton; Joshua Tree; Mount Rainier; Olympic; Rocky Mountain; Sequoia and Kings Canyon; Shenandoah; Yellowstone; Yosemite; and Zion.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed increases until November 23, through the national parks' website (parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates) or in writing, to 1859 C Street NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, D.C. 20240. "It hurts people who don't traditionally have access to parks more than those that do".

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"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration", Zinke said Tuesday.

The fee increase could potentially add up to $70 million in revenue to NPS which would help improve roads, bridges, bathrooms, trail signage, water lines, and visitor services.

Nevertheless, many people, including multiple sitting lawmakers, criticized the proposed fee increases, with some arguing that Americans would be priced out of visiting the parks.

The rate hike would affect the 17 national parks that already drive the most revenue. The park service would charge $30 per person on bike or foot.

The $80 annual pass that permits entrance into all federal parks would keep the same price tag.

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Not all park service sites charge entrance fees.

Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at 17 national parks. The increase of a cost per auto from $25-$30 to $70 per vehicle will prohibit many families from being able to enjoy the parks.

The National Park Service (NPS) announced it would almost double the fees to enter popular parks to help pay for infrastructure improvements. And this isn't the first time that the Park Service has made drastic changes to entrance fees in the last few years.

The news of the possible increase did not sit will people who frequent the park. "That is a 34 percent increase over the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016". The cost of the annual America the attractive pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, would remain $80.

"You don't need much money to go to the parks, just money for gas, but with this?" said George Holland, an Oakland attorney and president of the city's NAACP branch.

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"If people are priced out of that market, how long will that desire and dedication to preserving national parks be in the ethos of the American people?"

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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