Blog Post Theresa Pierno Oct 26, 2017

The 17 Parks Where Entrance Fees Could Skyrocket — and What You Can Do

A new Trump administration proposal could put popular national park vacations out of financial reach for some families. You can speak out against this plan.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration proposed dramatic fee increases at 17 of the country’s most popular national parks during peak seasons — in some cases doubling or nearly tripling current admission prices — as a way to address the agency’s $11.3 billion repair backlog. The public has a 30-day window to comment on this plan, which would take effect in 2018.

NPCA often supports fee increases to help provide additional resources staff need to protect and preserve our national parks. This proposal, however, comes on the heels of fee increases in 2015 and 2016 at more than 100 national park sites after extensive public input. These new drastic increases could create a serious financial barrier for many families. Visitors should not be forced to pay today for the years of inadequate federal funding in the past that led to this massive Park Service backlog.

Congress already has a better solution at its fingertips. A bill known as the National Park Service Legacy Act would establish a dedicated park maintenance fund to invest a more substantial amount toward the Park Service repair backlog. This investment, plus a responsible current federal budget, would make real progress toward restoring and improving parks for the future — without creating hurdles that could keep people out of their public lands. NPCA has been working to urge members of Congress to pass these essential pieces of legislation. Asking visitors to pay down a share of this massive debt one trip at a time is not a sound fiscal strategy for our families or our parks.

Here are the 17 places where fees could skyrocket next year.


Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia’s coastal landscape is famous for its picturesque mountains, diverse woodlands, deep blue waters, carriage roads and historic lighthouses — as well as its spectacular fall foliage.


Arches National Park, Utah

This landmark park offers more than 2,000 natural stone arches, the greatest concentration of these remarkable geologic formations found anywhere in the world.


Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon is famous for having more hoodoos than anywhere else in the world. It also features some of the darkest skies in the country and forests with ancient bristlecone pine trees.


Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Ruggedly beautiful and exceptionally wild, Canyonlands preserves an immense desert wilderness sculpted by the Green and Colorado rivers and featuring hundreds of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires.


Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali may be best known for its namesake mountain, North America’s tallest — but its 6 million acres of forests, glaciers, peaks, valleys and rivers encompass a wonderland of diverse terrain and offer a sanctuary for bears, foxes, lynx, moose, wolves and birds.


Glacier National Park, Montana

The Blackfeet Indians call this rugged region near the Canadian border the “backbone of the world.” With over one million acres of breathtaking alpine landscapes, glaciated mountains and deep blue lakes, Glacier abounds in natural wonders.


Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

America’s Southwest is full of amazing canyons, but none as widely visited as the Grand Canyon. This bucket list destination has breathtaking views, spectacular hiking and world-class whitewater rafting.


Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Seven thousand feet above the valley of Jackson Hole, the Teton Range dominates the landscape with its distinctive jagged granite pinnacles, which stand tall above the Snake River and the park’s scenic lakes, 200 miles of trails, and historic barns and homesteads.


Joshua Tree National Park, California

This iconic park preserves portions of two spectacular desert ecosystems with natural gardens of ocotillo and cholla cactus, dazzling vistas of Joshua trees and yucca, and spectacularly sculpted rock formations that draw climbers from around the world.


Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

This park preserves the highest peak in the Cascade Range, an active volcano with more glaciers than any other mountain in the United States. The forests, parkland, wetlands, lakes and rivers offer 260 miles of trails and varied habitat to dozens of plant and animal species.


Olympic National Park, Washington

From its wild beaches with sea stacks to its lush, mossy rainforest to its rugged, glacier-capped mountains, Olympic’s diverse habitats are ideal for travelers looking for a little bit of everything — and a lot of tranquility.


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain is one of the highest-elevation parks in the country, with 60 peaks over 12,000 feet tall — a wonderland for hikers and a refuge for hundreds of alpine and sub-alpine plant and animal species, some of which exist nowhere else.


Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California

Combined, these two adjacent parks are home to the tallest mountain in the Lower 48, the deepest canyon in the country and the largest tree on Earth, as well as spectacular waterfalls, marble caves and the peaks of the Sierra Crest.


Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, Shenandoah features rolling tree-lined hills, wooded hollows, spectacular waterfalls and a diversity of wildlife, all easily accessible from the scenic Skyline Drive.


Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming

With its diverse terrain, wide array of wildlife, natural beauty, profusion of waterfalls and, of course, heavily concentrated geothermal features, this park delivers miles of splendor and is, in so many ways, the essence of the American national park experience.


Yosemite National Park, California

Millions of people visit Yosemite each year to explore its dramatic valley with towering granite rocks and rushing waterfalls so beautiful, the scene feels like something out of a fairy tale.


Zion National Park National Park, Utah

At Zion, visitors are wowed by the impressive sandstone formations, the mesas with pine and juniper, and the free-flowing Virgin River that carved the valley into being.


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About the author

  • Theresa Pierno President and CEO

    Theresa Pierno is President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. She joined NPCA in 2004 after a distinguished career in public service and natural resource protection, and has helped to solidify the organization's role as the voice of America's national parks.

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