Entrance fees to some of your favorite national parks may double in just a few months. The proposal created by National Park Service comes after realizing the need to improve roads, bridges, campgrounds, water lines, bathrooms, and other visitor services at the parks. While this spike in price could potentially boost the national park revenue by a $70 million annually, it will put visiting these historic places out of reach for many Americans. (Related: 10 National Parks You Must Visit Before You Die)
Under the new proposal, entry fees for private vehicles will go from $25/$30 to $70 during peak season. The cost for people entering the park on foot or on a bike would jump to $30 from its current rate of $10 to $15. One price that won't change? The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which allows access to all federal and national parks for just $80 a year.
Seventeen parks have been affected by this new proposal including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Acadia, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah. A complete list is available on National Park Service's website.
"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration," Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement. "We need to have the 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. Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that." (Related: 10 Picturesque National Parks Worth Hiking)
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Park lovers seem to be torn by the news and have taken to social media to share their views. "National Parks shouldn't be reserved only for the wealthy. New entrance fee hikes will alienate many low-income Americans," Alt. Rocky Mountain NPS noted. "The funds have to come from somewhere," another user said.
National Parks shouldn't be reserved only for the wealthy. New entrance fee hikes will alienate many low-income Americans.#FundYourPark
— AltRockyNPS (@AltRockyNPS) October 25, 2017
The funds have to come from somewhere, and our current government wants nothing to do with the National Parks.
— Benjamin King (@BWKing) October 26, 2017
Our National Parks are our treasures. Please buy season passes. Support them. See them. Bring your kids. The memories last a lifetime.
— MouthyMadMom (@MouthyMadMom) October 26, 2017
National Parks want to charge ppl for going outside. Tmrw you’ll be able to purchase oxygen so you can breathe for only 99 cents per minute!
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) October 25, 2017
The good news is that a majority of national parks will remain free since just 118 of 417 national parks charge an entrance fee. For now, the NPS has made its proposal open to the public for comments for the next 30 days before making a final decision.