Big National Park Fee Increase Won’t Happen

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced he will not dramatically raise prices at national parks on Thursday. Instead, national parks will see a much more modest fee increase of $3–10 in 2018.

national park fee increase
Yosemite National Park

In October, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed doubling entry fees at the most popular national parks in 2018. But on Thursday, he backed down from that statement with a much more modest $5 increase announced for most national parks.

Instead of significant increases at 17 parks, the new fees will impact all 117 parks that already impose entrance fees. The changes will impact seven-day vehicle passes, personal passes, motorcycle passes, and annual park passes.

The most significant increases will impact annual passes at the most expensive national parks, raising fees to $70 from $60.

National Park Fee Increase

Zinke’s move follows public comments that vehemently opposed the secretary’s initial fee plan. Both plans were targeted at reducing the National Park Service’s $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog.

Big National Park Fee Increase Won't Happen
Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.)

“Your input has helped us develop a balanced plan that focuses on modest increases at the 117 fee-charging parks as opposed to larger increases proposed for 17 highly visited national parks,” Zinke said in a statement.

According to the NPS, the new fees will begin on June 1. The NPS also noted that a few parks would implement the new fee structure gradually, with full adoption by 2020.

But the agency was quick to remind visitors that more than two-thirds of America’s 417 national parks will remain free to enter.

In setting the new fee structure, the NPS grouped fee-charging parks into four categories based on size and type. Check out the NPS full breakdown of the fee hike below.

national park fee increase
Courtesy of NPS news release

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
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