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National Park Service Considers Fee Increases For Some Parks

28 October 2017

I believe the national park service has suffered from insufficient funding for many years and I encourage citizens to contact our representatives and senators and urge them to not only re-think funding cuts to national park budgets but also to oppose such large increases in park entrance fees as those proposed October 23, 2017.

And annual $80 passes for federal lands would not change, though fees would go up for pedestrians and motorcyclists.

The park service said the fee increase, which would be applied during the parks' five busiest months, is necessary to address a backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects.

Joshua Tree National Park is the only site in the proposal whose peak season is not in the summer - camping in the desert in August is its own form of cruel and unusual punishment - but it's one of more than a dozen that would be affected by the new proposal. The comment period runs through November 23.

Those fees cover park access for seven days.

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It expects to raise $70 million a year with the proposal at a time when national parks repeatedly have been breaking visitation records and putting a strain on park resources.

Park fees would almost triple under a proposal from the National Park Service.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told CNN: "The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration".

Ultimately, whether or not entry fees are raised at the 17 parks, the NPS is celebrating something of a tourism boom. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement, "We should be encouraging more people to get outdoors and enjoy our great natural wonders instead of discouraging them by raising park entrance fees".

While acknowledging the backlog in maintenance projects, Poliquin said he plans to discuss the matter with the park service in hopes it can find a solution that "will not disrupt the attraction to Acadia that the region relies on, and can ensure that ME families are able to still visit Acadia without a burdensome financial cost".

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The League needs to support and encourage this work and expand its scope so that it can, as Reid said , "provide a better platform".

Minutolo credited Acadia staff with doing a tremendous job of trying to keep up with maintenance and infrastructure needs within the roughly 50,000-acre park. Almost 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon a year ago.

A walk in the park might take a trip to the bank under massive fee increases proposed at the country's most visited national parks, including Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks.

Acadia now charges $50 for its annual entrance pass fee.

Theresa Pierno, the CEO of the nonpartisan charity National Parks Conservation Association, criticised the proposed move. The administration just proposed a major cut to the National Park Service budget even as parks struggle with billions of dollars in needed repairs.

However, many Montanans are angry about the increase saying it will make the parks less accessible for locals and the funding to fix parks should come from Congress.

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National Park Service Considers Fee Increases For Some Parks