National Park Service Proposes $70 Entrance Fee

National Park Service Proposes $70 Entrance Fee

The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 park sites charge an entrance fee, and the current proposal raises fees at 17 of those fee-charging parks.

"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration", said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

If you're a regular visitor to Arches National Park and you don't already buy annual National Park Service passes each year, now's a good time to get into the habit.

The new admission pricing would apply to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Teton, and other popular parks, most of which are in the West. People have a month to comment on the plan. Eighty percent of the fees collected must be spent in that park. The recent proposal to increase entrance fees is estimated to bring in an additional $70 million in annual revenue.

The outcome is uncertain. The increase would be almost three times the current rate for some parks. "The Park Service is pretty good at managing visitors".

Still, Greenwald is concerned that many people would be unable to visit the parks if the increases follow the upward trajectory of ski lift ticket prices.

The Park Service has a maintenance backlog totaling $11.3 billion. It includes fixing water systems, roads, buildings, campgrounds, housing and trails. The National Park Service has always been underfunded by Congress, and it's Congress' responsibility to solve its maintenance backlog and funding issues.

The backlog decreased past year by $600 million as the agency wrapped up some large projects and saw cost savings in construction.

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"It creates so many more problems they haven't thought through", he said.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is not affected. "We should not increase fees to such a degree as to make these places-protected for all Americans to experience-unaffordable for some families to visit". The agency's budget has fallen from 0.2% (1/5 of one percent) of the federal budget to about 0.067% (1/15 of one percent) of the federal budget since the early 1980's. Almost 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon a year ago.

National Park entrance fees have historically been a point of contention in Congress. Smaller groups run bookstores or gift shops and give the parks a share of the profits.

"We're a little overwhelmed", he said. "They come to the parks whether they're rich or poor, Republican or not".

"They have done such a great job that I would pay it", he said. Those who want to weigh in can do so online or via mail. These policies treat the National Park Service as a business that needs to generate revenue to fund its own operations rather than a public service that should be adequately funded and maintained by the federal government.

But she and Kaine said increasing entrance fees is not the way to address the issue.

According to Zacks, "Park National Corporation is the bank holding company for The Park National Bank, The Richland Trust Company, Century National Bank, The First-Knox National Bank of Mount Vernon, United Bank, N.A., Second National Bank, The Security National Bank and Trust Co. and The Citizens National Bank of Urbana".


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