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An Extra Month To Comment On Interior Secretary Zinke's Surge Pricing Proposal For Parks

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's proposal to have 17 national parks move to "surge pricing" for entrance fees will be open for another month of public comment due to keen interest by the general public and Congress, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

The comment period was to have closed on Thanksgiving Day, a month after Secretary Zinke announced it.

The secretary described his proposal, to more than double the entrance fee for a week at the 17 parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, and Shenandoah, as a way to combat the estimated $11 billion maintenance backlog across the National Park System. But it quickly drew condemnation from members of both sides of the aisle in Congress, and more than 65,000 comments have been received already on the proposal.

Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon (two parks treated as one under this proposal), Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

The peak season for each park would include its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation. The peak season entrance fee for a seven-day pass to each park would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.  

The cost of the annual America the Beautiful-The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, including all national parks for a one-year period, would remain $80. Entrance fees are not charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 parks have an entrance fee.  

While estimates suggest that the peak season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year, the Trump administration wants to cut National Park Service funding by nearly $400 million a year. The funds would be used to improve roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other amenities which enhance the visitor experience, the Park Service said in a release Tuesday. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80 percent of entrance fees remain in the park where they are collected. The other 20 percent of the revenue is distributed to other national parks.

With the extension, the comment period will remain open until December 22. You can find additional details of the proposal, and leave your comments, at this site.

Comments

Please do not increase the cost of the entrance fee to OUR National Parks!  These parks belong to ALL Americans and not just those who can afford to pay increased fees.  Raising the fees will result in less park attendance and thereby reduce revenues. Maybe an alternative would be to add a small surcharge at the restaurants, lodging, and gift shops. 

  


If you buy the $80 year pass, you can visit any national park for the price of a couple of extra large pizzas!  I think it's a small price to pay. 


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