$70 entrance fee proposed for Rocky Mountain National Park amid record crowds

Credit FREDERIC J. BROWN  AFP  Getty Images

Most national parks are free to enter: Of the 417 total NPS sites, only 118 charge admission fees.

The National Park Service has announced a proposal to more than double the peak-season entrance fees at the country's busiest national parks, including Shenandoah, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon. Vehicle entrance fees would jump from $25 to $70 during summer; bike-in and walk-in fees would jump from the current $10 or $15 to $30.

The proposed increase will be considered in the coming months following a 30-day public comment period, which opened Tuesday.

The administration estimates the fee increases would bring in $70 million per year; others say it would be more like $40 million. Almost 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon previous year. "The solution to our parks' fix needs can not and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors", Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association, said in a statement. Under the new rates, entrance would cost $75 per vehicle during a five-month peak season.

All of the money will stay within the NPS and 80 percent of the entrance fees will remain in the park where it is collected.

The admission fee to visit some of America's most popular national parks could skyrocket to $70 as officials look for ways to shore up funding to fix billions of dollars in aging infrastructure.

Aging infrastructure including roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms and other visitor services are certainly in need of maintenance, especially when you consider that national parks are seeing more and more visitors each and every year - those increased visits takes a toll on everything in place.

All those visitors lead to problem number two: A system-wide maintenance backlog that was, as of September 2016, a whopping $11.3 billion.




"Yosemite sees a huge amount of visitation it's one of our iconic parks, the parks gets to keep 80 percent of the money they generate and that goes right back into trail projects and camp grounds and repairing buildings and that sort of thing", says Barnum.

The news of the possible increase did not sit will people who frequent the park.

Latino Outdoors founder Jose Gonzalez said the need for revenue and to control the crowds at the busiest parks is understandable but he questioned the potential impact.

While Republican leadership looks to slash taxes for billionaires, price hikes at our National Parks will hurt working Americans.

Not all Park Service sites charge entrance fees.

America's national parks are enormously popular. The couple was wrapping up a four-week trip that included visits to Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon.

Under the proposal, permit fees for tour operators would also be adjusted up at the 17 parks.

"If they have the true justification for that, then I think preserving these lands for future generations is absolutely critical", Erik Schwartz said. Annual passes are available for parks nationwide, and discounts are available for military members, fourth-graders, seniors and volunteers.

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