The National Park Service (NPS) wants to substantially increase entrance fees during peak season in 17 of the nation’s most visited national parks. This includes such iconic destinations as Shenandoah, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches, Glacier, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain National Parks.
If the proposed policy is implemented, fees for a 7-day pass during peak season at the selected parks will amount to $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. An annual pass will also be available for $75.
The current 7-day entrance fees vary. For example, both Yellowstone and Yosemite offer 7 day passes for $30, while Glacier National Park charges $25 and Arches grants visitors weeklong access for just $10 per day.
According to the Trump Administration, which is charged with administering the National Park Service via the Department of the Interior, the fee hikes will serve to address the $11.3 billion NPS maintenance backlog.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a press release issued by NPS. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they 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.”
“We should not increase fees to such a degree as to make these places – protected for all Americans to experience – unaffordable for some families to visit. The solution to our parks’ repair needs cannot and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors,” says Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association.
“The administration just proposed a major cut to the National Park Service budget even as parks struggle with billions of dollars in needed repairs. If the administration wants to support national parks, it needs to walk the walk and work with Congress to address the maintenance backlog.”
Weigh in the comments below. Will any of these fee increases affect your annual travel plans to America’s national parks?