NPS Announces Fee Increases
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Park Service (NPS) announced fee increases at national parks across the country, but the increases are substantially smaller than the initial proposal, which would have doubled or tripled fees at 17 parks.
Instead, starting June 1, fees will be moderately increased at all 117 park units that already collect fees. Those that do not collect fees will continue to be fee-free.
“After the Department of the Interior’s initial proposal to significantly raise national park fees at 17 specific parks, we saw strong concerns raised by the outdoor industry, the business community, local community leaders and individual Americans who love our parks,” said Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Executive Director Amy Roberts. “This more modest increase shows that our voices made a positive difference toward today’s revised proposal to modestly increase fees.”
After receiving more than 100,000 comments, including from many federal, state and local elected officials, the DOI and NPS decided that fees should be raised across all four types of fee collecting parks. Those increases are outlined below. The America the Beautiful pass and the Senior Pass will not be increased.
Commercial vehicles will see a fee increase starting in 2019.
“The Park Service should be commended for keeping an open mind and listening to the overwhelming majority of people who spoke out against the possible doubling of certain entrance fees,” said Marc Berejka, REI’s director of government and community affairs.
“REI Co-op and our millions of members across the country cherish the parks. Today’s more modest, $5 increases will just begin to address the maintenance backlog. So, we will continue to work with the Administration, Congress and other stakeholders on holistic, long-term solutions that don’t overburden visitors. These Parks encompass some of the nation’s most iconic public lands. Like those who submitted comments, we want to assure our National Parks are protected and open to all, both now and for future generations” he said.
At least 55 percent of the anticipated $60 million in revenue generated from these increases will go to deferred maintenance in the parks. The rest will contribute to enhancing the visitor experience and protecting park resources and will be distributed to help with maintenance in the parks that do not charge fees. The parks that are already undergoing local review of their fee structures will continue that process and catch up to the new tiered fee structure in January 2020.