Quantcast
Popular
The Trump administration has proposed increased entry fees at 17 national parks, including the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park / Flickr

You Now Have More Time to Protest National Park Fee Hikes

Following widespread outrage, the National Parks Service (NPS) has extended the comment period for the public to weigh in on the proposed rate hikes at 17 of the most popular national parks across the country.

The comment period now closes Dec. 22, 2017. The original deadline had been set for Thursday.


Under the Trump administration's highly criticized proposal, the entrance fee will be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person during peak-season. That's nearly triple the current rate for some parks.

According to the proposal, the 17 parks targeted are top revenue generators, collecting 70 percent of the total of all entrance fees throughout the country. The raised fees will generate an estimated $70 million per year and will help pay for the Park Service's $11.3 billion in needed park repairs, including improving facilities and infrastructure and enhancing visitor services.

But according to the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, the revenue generated would address less than one percent of the backlog needs, and comes amid President Trump's calls to cut the NPS budget by 13 percent—the largest cut to the agency since World War II.

"Doubling and tripling park fees is not the answer to our parks' fiscal challenges," Emily Douce, Director of Budget & Appropriations at National Parks Conservation Association said. "Raising park fees to such a degree could limit families' ability to enjoy our parks, harm local businesses and will not even keep the repair backlog from growing. The Department of the Interior should use this extended time to get out to these parks and listen to community members, elected officials and local businesses that would be most impacted by these fee hikes just as it did during the last major, but modest fee increase in over 100 parks."

"Our national parks belong to all of us, but the solution cannot be pricing some visitors out of them," she continued. "American families should not be forced to pay today for what Congress and the administration have failed to do. Rather than put its energy behind an ill-conceived plan to rapidly increase fees, the administration needs to work with Congress on real solutions to our parks' budget challenges, including increasing annual federal funding and passing the National Park Service Legacy Act."

Access to the majority of National Park Service sites remains free; only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites charge an entrance fee. Public comments provide important feedback to help determine where, or if, peak season fee rates will be implemented.

"It is welcome news that the administration listened to the public's call for more time for gateway communities and the American people to voice their opinions on the proposed fee increases. Our voices must be heard and we encourage the public to continue speaking out," Douce said.

The announcement of the proposed rate increases sparked intense criticism. The Sierra Club recently organized an event where park advocates delivered more than 150,000 comments against the proposal.

“I have spent 15 years working to connect children and families with nature and am all too familiar with the barriers that prevent many communities from feeling welcomed in their public lands," said Jackie Ostfeld, associate director of Sierra Club's Outdoors campaign. "With this one move, the Trump administration will price many people out of our natural wonders—undermining years of progress in advancing equity and access to our parks. President Trump and Secretary Zinke must abandon this plan."

To submit a comment click here or write to 1849 C St. NW, Mail Stop: 2346, Washington, DC 20240.

The 17 targeted parks are:

● Acadia National Park

● Arches National Park

● Bryce Canyon National Park

● Canyonlands National Park

● Denali National Park

● Glacier National Park

● Grand Canyon National Park

● Grand Teton National Park

● Joshua Tree National Park

● Mount Rainier National Park

● Rocky Mo untain National Park

● Olympic National Park

● Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

● Shenandoah National Park

● Yellowstone National Park

● Yosemite National Park

● Zion National Park

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
The Stikine River runs through Wrangell, Alaska. Mining operations nearby threaten to poison fish in the Stikine watershed and destroy the traditions and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskan Tribes. Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Canada as Ugly Neighbor: Mines in BC Would Devastate Alaskan Tribes

By Ramin Pejan

Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Deforestation on peatland for palm oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia. glennhurowitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

World's Largest Palm Oil Trader Ramps Up Zero-Deforestation Efforts

The world's largest palm oil trader released plans on Monday to increase its efforts to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.

Wilmar International, which supplies 40 percent of the world's palm oil, has teamed up with the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment Asia to develop a comprehensive mapping database to better monitor the company's palm oil supplier group.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

New EPA Rule Would Sabotage Clean Water Act

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
James Braund / Getty Images

40 Acres of Farm Land in America Is Lost to Development Every Hour

By Brian Barth

Picture bulldozers plowing up pastures and cornfields to put in subdivisions and strip malls. Add to this picture the fact that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60—it's often retiring farmers that sell to real estate developers. They can afford to pay much more for property than aspiring young farmers.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy

60,000 Liters of Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Brazilian Bay

About 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of oil spilled from a pipeline into the Estrela River and spread to Rio de Janeiro's famed Guanabara Bay over the weekend, according to Reuters and local reports.

The pipeline is owned by Transpetro, the largest oil and gas transportation company in Brazil, and a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro (commonly known as Petrobras). Transpetro claims the leak resulted from an attempted robbery.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

Holiday Shoppers, the Planet Needs You to Take It Easy With Next-Day Shipping

By Jeff Turrentine

Back in 1966, the editors of Time indulged in a long-honored magazine tradition and published an essay in which experts made predictions about the future—in this case, the year 2000. By then, these experts prognosticated, a typical shopper "should be able to switch on to the local supermarket on the video phone, examine grapefruit and price them, all without stirring from her living room." But even so, they predicted, "remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop." Why? Because shoppers "like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
The Russia pavilion at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images

COP24: U.S. Joins Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait in Blocking Crucial Climate Report

The U.S. has thrown its hat in the ring with three other fossil-fuel friendly nations to block the COP24 talks from "welcoming" the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Amazon rainforest cleared for cattle raising; green groups are concerned Brazil's new environment minister will prioritize agriculture over conservation. Luiz Claudio Marigo / Nature Picture Library / Getty Images

Brazil’s New Environment Minister Is Bad News for the Amazon and the Climate

When right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in October, environmental groups raised concerns about what his presidency could mean for the future of the Amazon rainforest and the global fight against climate change.

Now, Bolsonaro's choice for environment minister appears to justify those concerns. In a tweet Sunday, Bolsonaro announced he would appoint pro-business lawyer Ricardo de Aquino Salles to the role, Reuters reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!