Visitor fees to America’s most popular national parks, including Yosemite and Joshua Tree, could more than double to $70 during five peak months under a proposal unveiled Tuesday.
The plan was announced by the U.S. Department of Interior, which said the increase was needed to pay for “improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks.”
Fees would rise during “peak season,” defined as the busiest five-month period of visitation at each park, the National Park Service said in a news release.
The plan would increase fees at each of the following national parks:
- Bryce Canyon
- Grand Canyon
- Grand Teton
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Mount Rainier
- Rocky Mountain
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon
- Shenandoah National Park
Those parks currently charge $25 to $30 for a private noncommercial vehicle entry.
The new fees would be $70 for a private noncommercial vehicle pass, $50 for a motorcycle, and $30 for a pedestrian or cyclist. An annual pass at any of the 17 parks would be $75.
The $80 annual America the Beautiful pass that allows entrance to all federal recreation lands would not be affected.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in the release. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks 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.”
The increased fees would bring in $70 million in new national park revenue, a 34 percent increase over 2016, the release stated.
A 30-day period during which public comment is invited opened Tuesday. The link the National Park Service provided for people to comment appeared broken Tuesday evening.
Comments can also be sent in writing to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.