Fees Are Rising at National Parks—a Little Bit Anyway

NPS bows to public pressure, raises entrance fees far less than originally proposed

Have an extra $5-spot lying around? May want to hang on to that for next time you head for a national park this summer.

We recently reported that the National Park Service was considering backing down from the sky high entrance fees into national parks they’d proposed last fall. On Thursday, the NPS confirmed they had indeed had a change of heart about the massive fee hike and announced a far more moderate cost bump instead.

Most parks that charge entrance fees, 117 parks in total, are raising the cost of vehicular admission by five bucks per entry. Many annual passes will increase by ten dollars. The new prices go into effect on June 1 in lots of parks, January, 2019 in others. Prices further increase by $5 in many parks in January, 2020.

So, expect a grand total of $10 in fee raises by 2020. Much less than the doubling, or near tripling, of many parks fees originally proposed by Ryan Zinke’s NPS just months ago.

Clearly, the NPS listened to the overwhelmingly negative public outcry about the originally proposed fee increases. They even cite those concerns in the release announcing the baby hikes. “The changes, which come in response to public comments on a fee proposal released in October 2017, will modestly increase entrance fees to raise additional revenue to address the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance across the system of 417 parks, historic and cultural sites, and monuments,” the NPS said in a statement.

These slight increases can hopefully begin to address the budget shortfall without sticking the public with the bill.

“Fees do have a role to play in our parks, and the administration’s move to abandon its original proposal in favor of more measured fee increases will put additional funds into enhancing park experiences without threatening visitation or local economies,” said Theresa Pierno, president of the National Parks Conservation Association.

The NPS expects the new fees to raise somewhere around $60 million to address infrastructure needs at the parks.

Check here for a full list of how much fees will raise at each park.


Showing 3 comments
  • Accidental FIRE

    I don’t think the fee increase is probably enough to make any dent in the maintenance shortfalls, but I have sympathy for a lower income family who saw those proposed increases as an outrage. What NPS really needs is more government funding, plain and simple.

  • Kevin

    Well higher fees is never fun but if it helps it helps. It looks like they are at least taking the public into consideration and not wanting to throw the entire burden on us. For now I am willing to deal with it until something else is figured out.

  • jim

    not enough money in the national park’s budget is the fundemental problem. raising fees will not be enough. we need to elect politicians that care about our parks and wild places and back it up with funding.

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