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Trump Administration Eyes Steep Fee Hikes At America's Busiest National Parks
28 October 2017, 01:07 | Marta Robbins
Steve Nehf The Denver PostA herd of elk get up close and provide
The increases would also create so-called "peak season" prices at the 17 parks, a five-month period during which per-person entrance fees would rise to $30, up from $10-$15 now, and per-vehicle fees would increase to $70, up from $25-$30.
The agency said it's considering raising costs to $70 for a weekly pass at 17 of its most popular parks, including Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion in the West.
Acadia now charges $25 for a weekly pass and $50 for its annual entrance pass for those vehicles.
The move "would generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks", including roads, campgrounds and visitor centers, NPS said in a release Tuesday.
If you've sat in a traffic jam while waiting to shun the congestion of city life during what was meant to be a quiet getaway at Rocky Mountain National Park, then it probably won't come as a shock to you that one of Colorado's most attractive places is seeing a lot of use. A 30-day public comment period will run from October 24 to November 23 on a park service website. The park counted 1.4 million visitors a year ago.
Fee increases are also being proposed for commercial tour buses.
"I encourage all Mainers to submit comments to the National Park Service about this unfair proposal".
The deferred maintenance is a political football for park service foes and fans, particularly in debates over Maine's national monument.
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People watch as waves crash against rocks at Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park.
"We need to have a 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", Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. "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 unbelievable destinations they are visiting". The rationale is the same this time around: to address a maintenance backlog and infrastructure projects.
In fact, in 2016 NPS had a record-breaking 331 million visits, almost eight per cent more than the year before.
The department said the fee increases would likely raise entrance fee revenue from $199.9 million to $268.5 million annually.
A walk in the park might take a trip to the bank under massive fee increases proposed at the country's most visited national parks, including Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks.
President Donald Trump announced plans to cut the park service's budget by 12.9 percent in 2017. "The national parks offer SO MUCH MORE".
There is no proposed fee increase for the annual pass for the whole park system, but those for specific parks will increase.
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