Comment period extended on proposed national park fee increase

Comment period extended on proposed national park fee increase

Last month, the National Park Service proposed a dramatic increase of entrance fees to 17 national parks, including the Grand Canyon.

Visitors would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the current $30 fee, during the five busiest months of the year. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 parks have an entrance fee.

Senator Maria Cantwell, outdoor enthusiasts and small businesses are calling on the Trump administration and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to withdraw the National Park Service's proposal to almost triple national park entrance fees. In a government letter signed by all 11 attorney generals, they state that the national park services have not given a reasoned explanation for the proposed fee increase.

California is home to some of the 17 parks slated for the increase, including Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Sequoia & Kings Canyon. "Given the concerns with these new proposals, it is my hope that the Park Service will provide Alaskans, Montanans, Coloradans and all Americans the opportunity for additional time to comment on this issue".

In the letter, Becerra offered a glimpse at his legal theory, saying the National Park Service proposal does not adequately take into account the impact of the fee increase on park visitors.

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That pass gets you into all the parks, national monuments and other federal lands that charge fees. The other 20% of the revenue is distributed to other national parks.

The public can comment via Park Service's website.

The deadline was originally set for Thursday, but on Tuesday the comment period was extended to December 22. The NPS is also proposing raising permit fees for commercial tour operators. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240. He argued the agency has not done the necessary outreach to those who could be affected, and slammed it for not undertaking an economic analysis, saying the fee increases are "unlikely" to achieve the stated objective of addressing deferred maintenance backlog.

According to the NPS, the fee hike would be implemented in 2018.

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