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National Parks Services propose an increased visitor fee

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National Parks Services propose an increased visitor fee

Photo courtesy of NationalParks.org

Photo courtesy of NationalParks.org

Photo courtesy of NationalParks.org

Allison Weseman,
Contributor

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Hikers could soon see entrance fees to their favorite national parks increase in 2018. On Oct.24, the National Park Service introduced a proposal to double the price to enter popular national parks such as Yosemite during peak seasons. According to the New York Times, the National Park Service would use that money to address maintenance issues such as roads, campgrounds and  bathrooms that have an impact on the visitor experience.

This proposed fee hike would hurt middle and lower class families as prices would more than double, jumping from $30 per vehicle to $70.. The problem though is that this fee would only be in place during peak seasons such as summer break and federal holidays.

“The biggest problem with the price increase is that national parks would became a place for the wealthy,” said Elements Wilderness Programs team member Sarah Gallimore.

According to the National Park Service, the increase would be over a five-month period and start with one national park. In May 2018, the fee hike would expand to include 12 parks and finally the rest of the four parks wouldn’t see a price increase until June 2018. In 2015, more than 330 million people visited national parks.

The Department of the Interior  predicts that the fee increase would bring in around $70 million. Money collected would be divided up with 80 percent staying in the park, with the remaining 20 percent going to other parks for projects.

“I think the price increase would be beneficial to the interior because the money collected would be used to keep national parks clean, and fund bigger and better projects,” said Mackenzie Schultz, an avid hiker.

California national parks such as Yosemite would see the price increase from January 1 to September 30. The problem though is that national parks have always been seen as an affordable refuge for many compared to museums and zoos.

“If people want to experience the public lands then they will have to pay the price,” said Shultz.

People who wish to comment on the price increase have until Dec.22 to either write to the National Park Service or enter a comment at the website for National Parks Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=83652

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National Parks Services propose an increased visitor fee