National Park Entrance Fees to Increase 180%

Source – Wikipedia

It would seem the National Park Service is at it again. Citing its huge maintenance backlog, yesterday the National Park Service announced proposed fee increases to 17 of the most popular national parks during peak season. This comes after earlier this year the National Park Service increased the price of a senior pass 700% from $10 to $80. The proposal by the National Park Service, which can be read here, would increase park entrance fees to $70 per private vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot, during the parks peak season.

The 17 affected parks are:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Denali National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Zion National Park

Also announced in the same fee increase proposal are increases for fees for commercial operators, but those were not covered in any detail in the announcement.

Open Comment Period

Starting on October 24, 2017, through November 23, 2017, there is an open comment period for people to submit their comments on the proposed fee changes. The site for commenting can be found here… Please take a moment to submit a comment on these proposed changes.

My Concerns About the Increase

I, personally, have a couple of concerns about these proposed entrance fee increases at these 17 national parks.

First, I fear that at $70 per car it will simply be too expensive for some people. I know it would put me off from visiting a national park. Yes, the annual national park pass has remained at $80 per year, but if someone can’t afford $70 for park entrance, do you think they can afford $80? Public lands are just that, public. They are supposed to be open to all regardless of their socio-economic status. When we price access to our public lands so only the wealthy can afford to access them, are they truly public lands?

Secondly, and I’m only guessing here, based on the parks in the proposal I feel crowd control is a factor here. Take Zion National Park, which has floated putting a reservation system in place to help with the huge crowds the park has had (Zion National Park may require reservations to control crowds). By dramatically raising the price to enter the park, it will cut down on those trying to use them during peak season.

While our national parks are facing a number of problems, from a huge maintenance backlog, overcrowding, and overuse, I personally, don’t feel this price increase addresses these problems. I see this price increase as unfairly limiting access to our public lands to those who can afford to. If the National Park Service had been properly funded over the decades, it wouldn’t be in this situation (neither political party has ever funded the parks fully). This price increase is nothing more than a surge pricing ripoff scheme…but that is my opinion.

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