National parks to increase admission fee

Comment period runs until November


Cecil Jacobson

Some national parks, including Grand Canyon, will increase admission from $30 to $70 per vehicle because of the need of $11 million of park maintenance.

Yonit Krebs

According to The New York Times, U.S. national parks are considering increasing their admission fees at 17 popular parks to combat record-high numbers of visitors. The revenue from these proposed increases would go to maintenance and infrastructure projects.

According to National Public Radio, the increased fees would only be in place during each park’s busiest season. According to the National Park Service, a 30-day comment period where anyone can give feedback on the proposed fees opened Oct. 24 and will close Nov. 23.

Some parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion, would charge $70 per vehicle as opposed to the current $30. According to the statement announcing the decision by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, this increase in admission would address the $11 million backlog in park maintenance.

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal includes a $400 million cut from national parks. When proposing these increased fees, the administration neglected to mention the National Park Service Legacy Act, a proposed bipartisan bill in Congress, which seeks to redirect $12 million in federal oil and gas royalties toward park maintenance.

Perhaps legislation could be used as a means to provide funds to update park infrastructure, instead of placing the burden on park visitors.

The purpose of national parks is to make nature and its beauty more accessible to the public in sustainable ways. By raising prices for visitors, traveling to popular national parks becomes a more exclusive enterprise.

According to the National Park Service, the 17 parks the proposed fee affects are the parks that collect 70 percent of total entrance fees.

Perhaps legislation could be used as a means to provide funds to update park infrastructure, instead of placing the burden on park visitors.

— Yonit Krebs

Summer is a prime time for students to take road trips and visit these gorgeous national parks, and putting these exorbitant fees in place during the summer means fewer students will be able to benefit from these parks.

Admission fees provide revenue for parks to keep up with infrastructure maintenance, but the public should not be burdened with these costs.

Instead, a budget proposal cutting national parks’ financial resources by the same administration seeking to raise admission prices should be scrutinized, and legislation seeking to alleviate the problem should be considered.

Feedback can be submitted to the National Park Service at the National Park Service website or written to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.