Sonora, CA – While the original plan involved doubling entrance fees for some of the country’s most popular parks like Yosemite, a new proposal out today by the Interior Department appears to have listened to the huge backlash from Americans and slashed the hike dramatically.
The new plan will boost fees at 17 popular parks by $5, up from the current $30 but far below the $70 figure proposed last fall by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that drew widespread opposition. Those against the fee jump included lawmakers and governors of both parties, who said the higher fees could exclude many families from enjoying national parks. But the biggest outcry came from Americans, according to the department, which noted that the agency received more than 109,000 comments on the plan, most of them opposed.
“I want to thank the American people who made their voices heard through the public comment process on the original fee proposal. 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, stated Zinke. He continued, “The $11.6 billion maintenance backlog isn’t going to be solved overnight and will require a multi-tiered approach as we work to provide badly needed revenue to repair infrastructure. This is just one of the ways we are carrying out our commitment to ensure that national parks remain world class destinations that provide an excellent value for families from all income levels.”
In fiscal year 2016, National Park Service entrance fees totaled $199 million. It estimates the new fee structure will increase that amount annually by about $60 million. The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80. The new $35 fee start June 1.