Time is running out to comment on the Trump administration’s desire to raise entrance fees at 17 national parks like Yosemite and Joshua Tree.
The proposal would raise vehicle entrance fees from around $25 to $70 at California national parks. Fees for motorcycles in some cases would double or triple to $50, and individual entrance fees would move from about $10 to $30.
Not everyone is happy about the proposal. In November, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 10 other attorney generals sent a letter to the National Park Service saying the project would severely limit who can afford to visit parks.
“In particular, this proposal would disproportionately impact modest-income families that are already underrepresented among national park visitors,” Attorney General Becerra said in a press release on Nov. 22, 2017.
NPS proposed the increase as a way to fill a $11.3 billion maintenance backlog for fixing things like roads and campgrounds.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a press release on Oct. 24. “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 . . . Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that.”
But others, like Attorney General Beccera, say it’s “simply disingenuous for the Trump Administration to claim that this proposal to charge families more is needed to help address the maintenance backlogs at our beautiful national parks. For every dollar the punitive fee increase raises from families, the Trump Administration intends to cutmore than 4 dollars from the National Park Service’s budget — almost $300 million. That backdoor math simply does not add up. It's a cruel deception for millions of hardworking families.”
The increases would affect visitors during peak season, mostly summertime, and if approved would go into effect in 2018.
The comment period closes Dec. 22, 2017 at 10:59 p.m. To leave a comment visit the NPS’ public comment page here.
The 17 national parks are:
- Bryce Canyon
- Grand Canyon
- Grand Teton
- Joshua Tree
- Mount Rainier
- Rocky Mountain
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon