A proposed plan by the National Park Service (NPS) to greatly increase entry fees at 17 national parks across the country has been scrapped after more than 100,000 public comments in opposition to the peak season fee proposal.
The NPS announced in October 2017 it was considering the large entrance fee increase in order to generate revenue for desperately needed maintenance projects. The original plan would entail increased rates at 17 of the most popular parks during peak visitation season, with prices at $70 per private vehicle, $50 per motorcycle and $30 per person on bike or foot.
Instead, the NPS announced in a press release yesterday that a more reasonable $5 increase on seven-day single vehicle entrance fees for most (117) national parks will be going into effect on June 1.
“I want to thank the American people who made their voices heard through the public comment process on the original fee proposal,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in the release. “Your input has helped us develop a balanced plan that focuses on modest increases at the 117 fee-charging parks as opposed to larger increases proposed for 17 highly-visited national parks.”
NPS will also be keeping 80 percent of the revenue from the fee increases within each national park that collects it. This is a much-welcomed decision, as it means visitors’ money will be going directly to the upkeep of the parks they visit. The funds will be used for projects and activities to improve the experience for visitors who continue to visit parks.
“An investment in our parks is an investment in America,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Every dollar spent to rebuild our parks will help bolster the gateway communities that rely on park visitation for economic vitality. The $11.6 billion maintenance backlog isn’t going to be solved overnight… In order for families with young kids, elderly grandparents, or persons with disabilities to enjoy the parks, we need to rebuild basic infrastructures like roads, trails, lodges, restrooms and visitors centers.”