After 50,000 Public Comments, Zinke Backs Down From Massive National Park Fee Increase

After 50,000 Public Comments, Zinke Backs Down From Massive National Park Fee Increase

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In the face of widespread opposition from the public and elected officials, the Interior Department has announced it will back down from a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks.

The plan would have nearly tripled entrance fees at 17 of the nation’s most popular parks, including the Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Zion, and Yosemite, forcing visitors to pay $70 per vehicle during the peak summer season.

While plans are still being finalized, and an increase of some amount is still likely, a spokesperson for the Interior Department told PBS that they have “taken the public’s suggestions seriously and have amended the plan to reflect those” comments. Adding that Secretary Zinke “remains laser-focused on rebuilding our park infrastructure.”

But some say those backlogs don’t add up, and while the $70 fee is off the table The Washington Post quotes officials as saying ‘”We’re working to respond to those … thoughtful and well-put comments. Our ultimate goal when it comes to entrance fees is to make sure the parks get 80 percent of that revenue … but we also don’t want to put a burden on our visitors. We believe there is room to increase the fees and the annual passes.” A 10% fee increased is being discussed, as well as a $20 increase to the senior and annual passes.

To read The Washington Post’s full article click here.

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Jason Epperson

Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children in a converted school bus.

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