The National Park Service is considering raising entrance fees at 17 popular parks during peak visitor season in order to pay for improvements to aging infrastructure, including roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, and bathrooms.
Right now, that entrance fee per one private, non-commercial vehicle is $30 at both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. If the increase is implemented, the fee would be $70 during peak season—that’s over a 100 percent increase.
Jesse Prentice-Dunn is with the Center for Western Priorities, a Colorado-based conservation group. He said the recently leaked draft of the Department of Interior’s five-year plan prioritizes energy development, and unfairly places the burden on visitors.
“These are the crown jewels of our public lands, things we should be investing in and at the same time the administration is proposing steep budget cuts for the National Park Service,” said Prentice-Dunn. “So it seems like it really devalues our parks and treats them as unwanted.”
The change is estimated to increase national park revenue by $70 million a year. Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until November 23.