Oct 26 2017
06:04 am

The National Park Service has announced a proposal to more than double the peak-season entrance fees at the country's busiest national parks, including Shenandoah, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.

Justification includes a $12 billion backlog in deferred maintenance.

The rate hike would affect the 17 national parks that already drive the most revenue... Of the 417 total NPS sites, only 118 charge admission fees.

Per vehicle fees currently costs $25 or $30 depending on the park, no matter the season. According to the National Park Service web site, the proposed entrance fees during peak season would cost $70 per vehicle. Similar entrance fee increases would apply to individuals walking into the park as well as motorcycles.

Annual passes (America the Beautiful-The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass) will remain the same, $80. The annual pass provides free entrance to all parks for a year. "It allows pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter Federally operated recreation sites across the country. It covers the pass owner and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older at sites where per person entrance fees are charged. No entry fee charged for children 15 and under."

I am not sure it is a good idea to increase these fees. However, knowing an annual pass is only $80 makes it better. Just purchase that the first time you enter one of these parks.

Then there is the Trump administration.

However, the Trump administration's budget proposal calls for significant cuts to the park service in 2018, decreasing its funding by $296.6 million compared with this year. The budget also anticipates a smaller staff for the park service next year: 18,268 full-time employees, down 1,242 from 2017.

What can you say? You have to wonder if Trump has ever been in any of these 17 national parks that will have fee increases. They are all pretty remote, except for Shenandoah.

Mike Knapp's picture

Shouldn’t be any fees for entry

let alone fees for backcountry camping. Fully fund the parks. Period.
Adam K. Raymond in NYMag Daily Intelligencer
Share The Interior Department Proposes Huge Hike in National Park Entry Fees

The plan to raise entry fees and collect an addition $70 million in revenue follows the proposal in Trump’s budget to cut $400 million from the National Parks Service. If Congress gives Trump what he wants and the fee increase goes through, that would leave the parks with $330 million less than they had last year while Americans are asked to pay nearly three times as much to visit. Sounds like a bad deal.

Memphis Slim's picture

The property owners in Sevier/Blount Country were smart

in their deeds of their property to the United States to create the National Park in the 30's, the restriction that no entry fee to the park be collected was included in all deeds, such that there will never be an entry fee for the park, but the regular camp fees will be collected. Hopefully, one day a vendor will be allowed to reconstruct the WonderLand Hotel to allow a suitable and appropriate hotel venue in the park, comparable to what you see in the parks out West for those who aren't regular campers or back country hikers

R. Neal's picture

Shhh! If Trump hears about

Shhh! If Trump hears about that he will tweet about what a bad deal it was and how he's going to renegotiate it.

In the mean time, I encourage everyone to put five bucks or whatever you can afford in those park donation collection boxes any time you see one.

Somebody's picture

Newfound Gap Road

I don't know about individual property deeds, but the State of Tennessee set the restriction when transferring Newfound Gap road to the park. It's always been my understanding that the issue was about free access to the main road through the mountains. That's what NPS says about it, too.

I think the state of Tennessee wasn't particularly concerned about a fee for the park, but rather that such a fee not also serve to turn the highway into a toll road. The park remains free because there's no way to effectively charge a park fee without setting up a gate on either end of Newfound Gap Road.

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