Entry Fees Could Double at Some National Parks

Higher prices for those visiting during peak season are a possibility at parks, including Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

Comments: 34

  1. One should always remember that many of our activities, such as entering Federal lands and entering the commerce of the United States itself from without, are gpverned by privilege-based law in US Code, and are not entitlements.

  2. National parks, as well as all the other recreational activities subsidized by US taxpayers, need to have a price tag reflecting what it costs to take care of these places. People who will never see some of these things should not have to pay to keep them open for other people to get a better price. Same with interstate highways, dams, bridges and the rest. Charge a fee that reflects the real cost of building and maintaining the item in question. QUIT SPENDING OUR MONEY!!!

  3. in Reply to Randy L. : Wow dude, selfish much? Things worth having are worth taking care of. We all enjoy and are responsible for our infrastructure and National Everything, really. It is all of a piece, don't you see? The combined total of these accomplishments are what we should be proud of and want to offer to all citizens and visitors. There is plenty of resources for this and much more if some would quit shirking and using tired out excuses for why they won't get with the program. Did you want your tax bill itemized? What are you complaining about here?

  4. Interesting that someone who can afford to comment from Brussels talks about charging fees. Perhaps if everyone who benefited from tax reductions since 1982 had paid their fair share, we wouldn't have the deficit we do and agencies wouldn't be scrambling for funds. Perhaps the government should start charging more for mining and logging instead of rates from the 1800s.

  5. I have no problem with this but, if they want to increase fees they need offer programs so low income families get in for free. Even the current fees can be too much for a family just scrapping by. I know they have free days but many people have little to no choice in their work schedule. National Parks should be accessible for all not just those with the means to pay.

  6. @ Victoria M, how are low-income people to schlep all the way out to Montana and Wyoming without the means even to rent a vehicle? The people in those states, incidentally, do not welcome outsiders and may be notoriously unfriendly to big-city people of any description. National parks should be accessible for all but in American anno 2017 we don't have a government that wants to subsidise travel for all. At all.

  7. These price increases are just another regressive tax. People of average income are disproportionately punished. Instead of increasing federal taxes modestly in a progressive manner to fund so many of our nation's needs, we, in this country persist in our obsession to lower taxes, especially for the wealthier and wealthiest. The need for all government branches to turn to all sorts of other means to raise money (such as municipalities pursuing income through excessive use of parking and other misdemeanor fines) results. And all of these alternate "taxes" are regressive by and large. How will we eventually pay for infrastructure costs, education and training of are young, the military, safety nets for the elderly and needy, and healthcare? When 95% of the public can't afford to even get to work, let alone take the kids to a national park, what will happen?

  8. Charging a young family on summer vacation $70 to see the wonders of nature so a millionaire can get a bigger tax break makes perfect sense. If you're a millionaire (or wannabe). Sometimes, what America has become makes me incredibly sad. Private gets the profits and Public gets the problems.

  9. There aren’t a lot of poor people who make the long journey to national parks. And they can avoid the feed at mmost parks by entering and leaving when the fee booth is not manned. In some parks you are welcome to do that. In others, it is frowned open. But there is no enforcement system and park employees are the kind who would welcome the poor who rarely visit.

  10. One of last equalizers, the National Parks, is being taken away from us bit by bit. As are the other public commons. Reserved only for the wealthy. It's shameful. For we all own them. How about a sliding scale? Or charging foreign visitors more? Or annually mothballing just one, single Pentagon pet project?

  11. This is ridiculous. A day at a National Park is far cheaper than a day at Disneyland, and Disneyland is a haven for middle class families. If middle class people can afford Disneyland they can afford Yellowstone.

  12. Why not just control numbers through a reservation syste, - this is yet another measure to discriminate based on income - these are national parks! There could be a quota for foreign visitors also.

  13. The is a vexing and complicated problem to be sure. The Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks are so jammed with cars and people in the summer that it is not a pleasant experience in the least. Noise, litter, deteriorating infrastructure are clear. Instead of places of beauty and natural splendor, the parks are not much different than crowded shopping malls. Other than a complex lottery system for visits, raising prices to control demand may be the only realistic solution. The collected funds should be rolled into park maintenance. Should the fees increase, this should not be an excuse for the backward focused elements in Congress (you know who you are) to slash eviscerated National Park Service budgets even further.

  14. These huge fee increases will discourage Americans from visiting the parks. Sec of Interior, Ryan Zinke said the parks need restoration and the fee increases would raise $70 million. That's less than 5% of the $1.5 trillion budget deficit Republicans say will result from their massive tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations. Suggestion: Reduce the tax cuts by a tiny amount and invest the revenues in restoring our national parks.

  15. National Parks are a branch of Fed Gvmnt that has been working very well - and perhaps the only remaining non-partisan one. I visit a lot and am without fail impressed by the quality of campsites, ranger buildings, trails and by the friendliness, competence and civic-mindedness of the rangers and volunteers. I am concerned that doubling the entrance fee will deter visitors, especially those who most need and can least afford to, experience the majesty of nature. If the increase is followed by reduced federal funding (and tax breaks) many people including myself would find this perverse.

  16. National parks should be free, free for everyone! Funding for national parks is part of the discretionary budget and congress needs to be told to spend the money. In the same breath they need to be reminded they are there to do as they are told and not make decisions for you and I. As far as the overcrowding is concerned a lottery system needs to be employed, a fair one resulting in equal opportunity for each and every one of us to enjoy these natural resources.

  17. For some reason the New York Times did not include the link to comment on this proposal. Please go and log your comments now. Putting these parks out of the financial reach of many American families is wrong, and completely anathema to the purpose and spirit of the National Parks system. https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=81250

  18. There aren’t a lot of poor people who make the long journey to national parks. And they can avoid the feeds at most parks by entering and leaving when the fee booth is not manned. In some parks you are welcome to do that. In others, it is frowned upon. But there is no enforcement system and park employees are the kind who would welcome poor visitors.

  19. Visits to the national parks are a privilege not a right! If millions can pay $110 for a day in DisneyWorld (plus food, drinks,souvenirs , Fast Pass)citizens can pay a fee to enjoy the splendor of the parks!

  20. I am surprised our government has not yet suggested to dig for oil in the grand canyon or have old faithful power an atomic plant and hope for the trickle down effect to maintain the souvenir shops...

  21. I went to Canyonlands a few days ago. They charge you some serious bucks to get in. So after you have been driving for like an hour to get in you think "well maybe there is a bathroom around here?" So you go to the visitor center and find 2 pathetic decrepit toilets. But if you drive a bit and inadvertently end up going by the ranger housing you will find where the money goes. Those rangers get some opulent digs. The public gets short shrift, abused and exploited really.

  22. Timed tickets with limited visitors per year; foreign tourists last on list. Increased fees. Congress to leave parks alone!

  23. It would be very shortsighted (not to mention xenophobic) to place foreign tourists at a disadvantage in visiting our parks. America's national parks are a significant draw for international tourists, who spend their money not only in the parks but for hotels, restaurants, transportation, tours, museums, and various private recreational businesses. The local jobs and tax revenue generated by visitors from other countries are just as valuable as the dollars spent by Americans. And of coursed increased fees will impact all tourists wherever they arrive from. Individuals, local patrons and short-stay visitors (<48 hours) will be disproportionately burdened by the steeply increased fees. Many will be discouraged from visiting at all, a loss of tourist revenue for all. The call for "Congress to leave parks alone!" sounds more like an excuse for legislators to further neglect the long-suffering park service and the national heritage it manages and preserves for all of us.

  24. If it looks like a tax increase. Walks like a tax increase. Sounds like a tax increase. Costed like a tax increase. It's a tax increase.

  25. As an avid NP enthusiast (35 years old, been to 30 out of 59 parks), I’ve seen the congestion they’re referring to (the worst was in Yosemite on a June weekend. The valley loop road was basically a parking lot). I’d do it differently though. (They might have already done this; I haven’t been to a large “premier” park for two years.) I’d start with lowering the access period. Keep the same price, but grant access for only one day. The access fee usually gives a visitor anywhere from 3-7 days access to the park. This wouldn’t price some out of visiting the parks. Another suggestion would be to keep current prices but eliminate fee free weekends.

  26. In part, the key NPs slated for the potential increase are being loved to death. Meaning their popularity is causing wear and tear - and sometimes outright damage that has to be dealt with. Is a $70 fee too high? Maybe yes. But if the parks were free - which I admit does sound wonderful - the crush of tourism might be overwhelming at the most popular ones damaging the very value that make the parks so important. You can see key attractions all over the world suffering from over-touristism. This does cause lots of wear and tear and sometimes serious damage (all those crazy selfies). How should that be dealt with? The Pantheon in Rome will start charging entrance fees next year. I am saddened but I can understand the issue. Yes perhaps some people won't pay to enter. I am not supporting the big fee key NP increase but I understand why something needs to be done. Limit daily visitors? Entrance tickets need to be purchased ahead? These options also have downsides.

  27. I for one applaud this change. The new Republican tax cuts for business owners, corporations and the one percent have to be paid for somehow. Plus, people forget we still need to continue funding the bipartisan Reagan era tax cuts. Cuts in government programs will have to be made. Undoubtedly these cuts will fall largely on the poor. In this specific case, the cut will fall on the middle class (I doubt the one percent go to national parks, the restaurants there are so terrible). Poor people rarely have the time to go to a national park and the rest of you all can afford this. I'll say it again. Since cuts will have to be on programs for either the middle class, the working class or the poor, better it be on the middle class than the others.

  28. Park fees should not be increased; if anything, they should be lowered. That won't happen, but I think that one's sense of appreciation for being an American is enhanced by seeing the preserved grandeur that these parks are. Patriotism is more than a robotic pledge to the flag, it runs deeper when people see for themselves what the country is as well as understanding what core values are in the founding documents. "Sea to shining sea" should not be "See if you can afford it.."

  29. There's plenty done by the Trump administration to be upset about, and this fee increase should be low on the list. While this may discourage some people from visiting these 17 parks, it will hopefully encourage them to visit some of the other wonderful state and national parks not seeing fee increases. There is plenty of land to go around, and we don't all need to cram into the same outdoor spot every spring to enjoy nature.

  30. Oh, yes, this suggestion makes perfect sense. "Sorry, kids, we can't afford to go to the Grand Canyon. But surprise! We're taking you to Donald J. Trump State Park in Westchester County!"

  31. The only vacations we had as a kid were at NP's. We could have never afforded this increase. We had an ice chest with our bologna and cheese, for sandwiches on white bread. Nobody could have ever convinced me we were poor, when I was watching Old Faithful or looking over the Grand Canyon. Gotta always make it more difficult for lower income families. Please make sure that the rich get their big tax, they REALLY need it.

  32. Nyts. Can't say it can you? There are just too many people in this country and the world. The parks, like everywhere else, are being crushed under our weight of numbers. Sure, increased admission costs will help repair a few roads etc, but the problem remains. We, as a species, are completely out of balance with the environment we live in. This flies in the face of the nyts often stated goal of open immigration and an ever increasing u.s. population, but as Ed Abbey said, nothing that is wild, beautiful, or free will survive this tidal wave of humans. The parks are just a symptom. The cause is us.

  33. I agree with this completely, and always have. There are just too many people. Not just for the parks to accommodate, but for society in general. How can society sustain its population and continue to grow when people are living longer than ever but employees are aged out and phased out of jobs at age 50, 15 years before they can collect meager Social Security or Medicare benefits, and automation takes away more and more jobs? But try telling a mostly Christian country to go against their church and practice birth control, or sensibly limit the number of children they have, and you will be accused of Chinese communist-style population control and totalitarianism. Overpopulation is the No. 1 problem facing the world, but no one wants to admit that or solve it.

  34. Local tour guides in all 17 National Parks that plan to increase fees will pay more than their fair share. Tour guides in Jackson Hole normally go through Grand Teton Park before going into Yellowstone. That means they will pay entrance fees in both parks. By the end of the day these low earning hard working people could end up paying 50% of their income to the two parks on a daily basis. https://yellowstonesafaritours.com https://yellowstonevisitortours.com