NPS Extends Public Comment Period for Fee Increase

Interior proposes raising fees at popular national parks

Last week, Bennet sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke saying the fee increase at Rocky Mountain National Park would harm small businesses and local economies that rely on park tourism to bolster their economies. The new deadline is December 22. More than 65,000 comments have already been received on the proposal, the agency said. "It is incumbent upon all of us to take any and all necessary action to oppose this dramatic increase in park entrance fees and to protect communities that rely on national parks as important economic engines".

Under the Trump administration's highly criticized proposal, the entrance fee will be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person during peak-season.

Proposed increases would affect 17 national parks during peak tourist seasons - mostly during summer months. An annual pass would cost $75. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 parks have an entrance fee.

Most of the 17 sites are in the west including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand canyon and more.

Fees have always been an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience and recreation opportunities in national parks and on other federal lands.

According to a news release from the National Park Service, the fee increases would be targeted to the five busiest consecutive months of the year. The funds would be used to improve roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other amenities which enhance the visitor experience. "Colorado's National Parks are one of our greatest resources, and keeping them open and accessible to the public is one of my top priorities".

"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration", Zinke said in an October 24 statement. Written comments can be submitted to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, D.C. 20240.

The Park Service said it wanted to accommodate interest from Congress and the public.

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