USA state attorneys general oppose plan to increase national park fees

Cantwell fights higher park fees

The National Park Service has extended the public comment period for a proposal to significantly hike the entry fee to get into some national parks.

The current fee is $30. "All Americans should have access to these lands, especially communities that the Service's surveys show have often been underrepresented, including inner city children and Hispanic-American and African American populations", they said.

The letter has no legal standing to prevent fee increases, but Becerra and other state attorneys general did not rule out future legal action.

"The Service's proposed fee increases, which double or even triple existing entrance fees, threaten to put many Americans to the choice of beauty or bread and to distance them from the places in which so many experience the natural wonder of our great and unique nation", read a letter written to the Service's acting director.

According to a Park Service release, a seven-day pass for vehicles at 17 popular national parks would be $70 during a five-month peak period. Individual entrance fees would go from today's cost of $10 to $15, to $30.

If the fees are approved, the NPS estimates the increase could generate as much as $70 million. "Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the wonderful destinations they are visiting".

NPS's stated justification for the fee increase is to address the serious maintenance backlog facing the national park system.

Other attorney generals who have joined Attorney General Becerra in the letter are the Attorneys General of Arizona, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia. However, the NPS extended it until December 22. It is not known whether the same thing would happen if fees are raised again. The NPS said it would help pay for a backlog of maintenance for parks.

Related news: