What can we do?
The 30-day comment period on the proposed fee increase ends on November 23, 2017. Please let Secretary Zinke know you believe national parks should remain accessible and affordable for all.
For Shenandoah National Park (SNP), the private vehicle entrance fee is proposed to increase from $25 to $70 in peak season from June 1 to October 31. Although we are concerned about the maintenance backlog in the National Parks, a fee increase of this magnitude could limit access to the parks for some families and in turn, affect the economies of gateway communities that rely on tourist income from park visitors.
The National Park Service announced recently that it is considering an increase in entrance fees to $70 at 17 of its most popular parks—in some cases tripling the cost to get in.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said that the increase, “will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting.”
While that certainly sounds like a worthy goal, we strongly believe that entrance fees should never be set at levels where people are priced out of enjoying their public lands.
Addressing the effects of decades of systematic underfunding of the land management agencies is important for National Parks—and all of our public lands—and we accept that fees are appropriate or necessary in some limited circumstances. This fee increase, however, strikes us as unreasonably high, particularly when proposed in conjunction with overall Department of Interior budget cuts to the tune of $1.5 billion and proposals to massively ramp up energy development.
The fee hikes would affect visitors beginning May 1, 2018, at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks; beginning June 1, 2018 in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah national parks; and “as soon as practicable” in Joshua Tree National Park.