By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The calendar is quickly closing in on the last day to make comments on the National Park Service’s move to possibly jack up entry fees on some of the most popular parks in the U.S. In a move that Department of Interior Secretary Ron Zinke calls “targeted fee increases,” 17 parks would see entry fees skyrocket to $70 per carload of visitors during peak season.
Which parks would see the fee hikes? Under the current plan, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018. Other parks include Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.
How much of a fee jump are we talking about? Presently, entrance fees at Grand Canyon are $25 per carload. Up the rate to $70, you’re looking at more than a 250 percent increase in fees. At Arches, your present $10 rate jumps a mere 600 percent.
The Secretary assures such fee increases are necessary. “[These increases will] help ensure that they [the parks] are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting. We need to have the vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids’ grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today. Shoring up our parks’ aging infrastructure will do that.”
Have something to say? Your comments are welcome until November 23, 2017 [extended to December 22, 2017]. Visit the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street NW, Mail Stop: 2346, Washington, DC 20240.
[Editor: For those of you leaving such thoughtful comments below this article, please be sure to pass along your comments to the PEPC where they, hopefully, will do some good. Thank you!]