New proposal calls for smaller fee increases across Park Service.
WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration today announced it would not move forward with its plan to triple the entrance fees at some of America’s most popular national parks during peak visiting season, opting instead to implement minor increases to fees across the Park System.
In October, the administration proposed to increase fees threefold to as high as $70 during peak seasons at 17 of our most visited national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Acadia. The administration sold the proposal as a way to help pay for the Park Service’s $11.6 billion in needed repairs, but the amount collected from increased fees would address less than one percent of parks’ backlogged maintenance and infrastructure needs.
The public quickly came out against the proposal. A National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) analysis found that 98 percent of the nearly 110,000 public comments submitted to the Department of the Interior on the plan opposed the fee increase. In December as the comment deadline loomed, more than 80 business and community leaders from across the country joined NPCA in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaking out against the plan and how it would turn away visitors and impact the economies of gateway communities.
The new plan calls for smaller fee increases at all 117 National Park Service units that collect fees based on the type of park unit, generally a $5 increase in entrance fees. The fees are expected to raise about $60 million per year.
Below is a statement by Theresa Pierno, NPCA President and CEO:
“From the moment the administration made its proposal to triple fees at some of America’s most popular national parks, many businesses, gateway communities, governors, tourism groups, conservation organizations and the public have said this was the wrong solution for parks’ repair needs. The public spoke, and the administration listened.
“Fees do have a role to play in our parks, and the administration’s move to abandon its original proposal in favor of more measured fee increases will put additional funds into enhancing park experiences without threatening visitation or local economies.
“Despite this welcomed move, fees alone will not solve parks’ repair challenges. The recent omnibus spending bill included more funding for national parks and park repairs for fiscal year 2018, a move in the right direction Congress and the administration should continue. Congress should commit to increasing park funding in future spending bills. It also needs to go one important step further by enacting legislation like the National Park Service Legacy Act that would make substantial, sustainable and dependable investments in our parks. With these efforts, we will ensure parks can continue to welcome visitors for generations to come.”
About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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