If you're planning to cross the Grand Canyon off your bucket list, do it soon: The entrance fee might more than double by May 2018. Those on foot or bicycle pay $10 to $15 for entry, that would increase to $30.
The National Park Service has proposed entry fee increases at 17 national parks, including Yellowstone and Glacier, aimed at raising money for deferred maintenance. Noting the Trump administration "just proposed a major cut to the National Park Service budget", the president of the National Parks Conservation Association says administration officials must "work with Congress to address the maintenance backlog". Parks with June peak-season starts include Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Shenandoah.
A majority of national parks will remain free to enter. During a five-month peak season the entrance fee would be $70 per vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person.
"We need to have the vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids' grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today", said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a statement.
Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine complains the much higher fees defeat the goal of national parks being available for all to visit - and that the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans are unwilling to keep this accessibility by taking care of maintenance costs through the regular budget.
Acadia now charges $50 for its annual entrance pass fee.More news: Harvey Weinstein scandal: New accuser files first lawsuit against Weinstein Company
The peak season fees could raise national park revenue by $70 million per year, Zinke said.
The entrance fees are a bargain considering the vastness of the parks, they said, but they also want assurance the revenue is used as intended.
The new fees have reached costs comparable to amusement parks.
All CUA fees stay within the collecting park and would fund rehabilitation projects for buildings, facilities, parking lots, roads, and wayside exhibits that would enhance the visitor experience.
This proposal would also include a peak season commercial entrance fee structure for the 17 national parks referenced above. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.