ACTION-A-DAY 10/27: Comment on Proposed National Park User Fee Hike
The National Park Service is asking for public comment regarding a possible fee increase to highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons, including Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Joshua Tree.
Park officials say the fee increase would be to help improve the visitor experience and ensure America's national parks are protected.
The proposed peak season entrance fees and revised fees for road-based commercial tours would generate the revenue needed for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks, park officials say. This includes roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms and other visitor services.(1)
With the proposed change, during peak-season, the entrance fee will be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person.(2)
Provide comments on the proposed peak season fee increases. The comment period is open 10/24-11/23. Go to the web page linked below and tell the National Park Service what you think about this proposed change.
Further information from NPS Factsheet (2):
TARGETED FEE INCREASES AT PARKS TO ADDRESS MAINTENANCE BACKLOG FACT SHEET(2)
As part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience and increase revenue to help address the deferred maintenance backlog, the National Park Service is proposing to implement peak season entrance fees at 17 of its busiest national parks.
Peak season will be the busiest contiguous five month period of visitation for each park.
● 1 park would start as soon as practical in 2018
● 12 parks would start May 1, 2018
● 4 parks would start June 1, 2018
A 30-day public comment period will open on 10/24/2017 and close on 11/23/2017. Interested parties are encouraged to make comments electronically via the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates or in writing to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.
Following the public comment period, feedback will help determine where, or if, peak season fee rates will be implemented.
Fees have become an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience and recreation opportunities in national parks and on other federal lands.
The funds raised are critically needed to improve facilities and infrastructure and to provide an enhanced level of service, all of which would have a direct impact on the visitor.
The 17 parks are:
● Acadia National Park (ACAD)
● Arches National Park (ARCH)
● Bryce Canyon National Park (BRCA)
● Canyonlands National Park (CANY)
● Denali National Park (DENA)
● Glacier National Park (GLAC)
● Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA)
● Grand Teton National Park (GRTE)
● Joshua Tree National Park (JOTR)
● Mount Rainier National Park (MORA)
● Rocky Mountain National Park (ROMO)
● Olympic National Park (OLYM)
● Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI)
● Shenandoah National Park (SHEN)
● Yellowstone National Park (YELL)
● Yosemite National Park (YOSE)
● Zion National Park (ZION) .
These 17 parks are the top revenue parks. They collect 70% of the total of all entrance fees throughout the country.
The peak season for each park is defined as the busiest contiguous five month period of visitation
○ JOTR January 1-May 31
○ ARCH, BRCA, CANY, DENA, GLAC, GRCA, GRTE, OLYM, SEKI, YELL, YOSE, ZION May 1- September 30
○ ACAD, MORA, ROMO, SHEN June 1- October 31
During peak-season, the entrance fee will be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person.
Additionally, the commercial tour entrance fee at these parks would also have a peak-season pricing. For additional information on commercial tour fees please visit the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/commercialtourrequirements.
The annual America the Beautiful-The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass which provides free entrance to all parks for a year will remain $80.
Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful-The National Park and Federal Recreation Lands Annual, Senior, Military, Access, or Volunteer Passes or holders of EKIP passes.
Implementing the seasonal pricing structure will likely increase total entrance fee revenues from $199.9M to $268.5M, annually - an increase of 34.3% over Fiscal Year 2016.
All of the money will stay within the National Park Service. 80% of the money will remain in the park where it is collected. The other 20% will be spent on projects in other national parks. The funds will be expended on projects and activities that further the mission and purpose of the NPS, with an emphasis on deferred maintenance. This includes roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services.
Access to the majority of National Park Service sites remains free; only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites charge an entrance fee. The other 299 national parks do not charge an entrance fee.
1. Fox 26, National Park Service asks for public comment on fee increase to 17 popular parks, http://kmph.com/news/local/national-park-service-asks-for-public-comment-on-targeted-fee-increase, Accessed 10/26/17
2. National Park Service, Targeted Fee Increases at Parks to Address Maintenance Backlog FactSheet,file:///Users/mjvp/Desktop/Fact%20Sheet%20and%20Current%20and%20Proposed%20Fee%20Rates%20Spreadsheet.pdf, Accessed 10/26/17