National Park Service extends public comment on raising park entrance fees

Jackson objects to national park fee hike

Most of the 17 sites are in the West, including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and Mount Rainier.

On October 24, the National Park Service announced a proposal to nearly triple the peak season entrance fees at 17 of the most popular national parks.

"Although we respect the National Park Service's attempt to find solutions for the deferred maintenance backlog, raising entrance fees to this degree could unfairly burden the public and create new barriers to the visitors that you hope to reach and inspire", the senators wrote on November 14. Motorcycle fees would double or triple in some cases, from the current $15 to $25, to $50.

The general public has until Thanksgiving Day to provide their input, on that day the 30-day public comment period ends. In a government letter signed by all 11 attorney generals, they state that the national park services have not given a reasoned explanation for the proposed fee increase. The new deadline is Friday, Dec. 22.

Becerra said the fee increase would greatly impact modest-income families.

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According to the proposal, the 17 parks targeted are top revenue generators, collecting 70 percent of the total of all entrance fees throughout the country. More than 65,000 comments already have been submitted. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees. Estimates suggest that the peak season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year.

However, the cost of an Interagency Annual Pass, which grants access to any national park in the United States, would stay the same at $80.

Comments can be submitted to the park service online until December 22 at parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates or mailed to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, D.C. 20240.

NPS's stated justification for the fee increase is to address the serious maintenance backlog facing the national park system. "As corporate tax breaks are also being discussed, I don't know why park fees then have to be raised".

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