A week after reports were made that the National Park Service (NPS) was rethinking their plan for imposing peak season entrance fees on popular national parks, the NPS has announced today that more modest park entrance fee increases will be going into effect on June 1.
NPS will institute a $5 increase on seven-day single vehicle entrance fees for most (117) national parks. While that is much more palatable than their October 2017 proposal for 17 popular national parks increasing from $30 to $70, it is still an increase nonetheless. NPS does cite the more than 100,000 public comments in opposition to the peak season fee proposal as the reason for these lesser increases.
“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.
In 2016, entrance fees collected by NPS totaled $199 million. They estimate that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will grow annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million. Which should certainly help, but obviously not solve, their $11.6 billion maintenance backlog.
National park entrance fees are broken up into four groups based on park size and type. The current entrance fee structure and forthcoming one look like this:
“The funds will be used for projects and activities to improve the experience for visitors who continue to visit parks at unprecedented levels,” the NPS press release states. “Increased attendance at parks, 1.5 billion visits in the last five years, means aging park facilities incurring further wear and tear.”
Check out the full list of NPS entrance fees.
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