The popularity of our beautiful national parks has been steadily increasing over the years. In fact, for the National Park Service’s 100th birthday in 2016, there was a nearly 8% increase in visitors to all national parks. That extra traffic can be clearly be seen on trails and roads, in parking lots and visitor centers, and in hotels, campgrounds and RV parks.
Entrance fees are due to increase in 17 national parks.
While only 118 of the 417 parks charge entrance fees, the most popular parks will see the steep increase. This includes:
- Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Canyonlands in Utah
- Denali in Alaska
- Glacier in Montana
- Grand Canyon in Arizona
- Yellowstone and Grand Teton in Wyoming
- Olympic in Washington
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite in California
The proposal states that these fees will increase by May 1, 2018. In addition, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks could also see fee increases starting June 1, 2018.
The fees will go to help the infrastructure of park roads, visitor centers, and campgrounds.
During the peak season at each park, the entrance fee will be $70 per private vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.
Entrance fees will not be charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes. In contrast, the cost of the annual America the Beautiful, The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass will remain $80.
The NPS is estimating that the national park revenue could increase by 34% or about $70 million per year.
The money will go to repair park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, visitor centers, and bathrooms.
Free entrance days will still be implemented for 10 days of the year.
They include the weekends of National Park Week, the National Park Service Birthday on August 25, and National Public Lands Day on September 30.