Visitors watch the sun set over the Grand Canyon at the Desert View observation point in Grand Canyon National Park in Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S., on Thursday, June 25, 2015. The Grand Canyon has seen a 20 percent increase in visitation through the first quarter of this year, according to a park spokesperson. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Jennifer Calfas
October 24, 2017

Entrance fees for your favorite national parks may double in just a few months.

In an effort to better fund its ongoing maintenance and infrastructure projects, the National Park Service is proposing higher entrance fees for 17 parks around the U.S., which would increase the fees from around $30 per vehicle to $70 during the peak seasons, or busiest five months, of each particular location.

The uptick would more than double the cost for visitors to parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone and Joshua Tree, among others.

“We need to have the vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids’ grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today,” U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. “Shoring up our parks’ aging infrastructure will do that.”

The Park Service estimates that, if implemented, the higher fees would add $70 million to its revenue per year, where 80% of the fees collected at each park go to that location specifically. The other 20% would go to other national parks projects.

However, the agency has not proposed any price increases for its America the Beautiful passes, which are $80 and grant access to more than 2,000 federal sites, including those potentially getting a comparable price tag for just one visit. (If the price increases are implemented and you’re a frequent park-goer, getting an annual pass will give you the most bang for your buck.)

A spokesperson for the National Park Service said he could not speculate as to whether the price increases will go into effect. The Park Service is encouraging people to give feedback on the suggested price increases, which they can do online or by mail by Nov. 23. Comments can be added online here, or in mail to 1849 C Street, NW Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, D.C. 20240.

Here are all the affected parks and the months price increases would be in effect:

May 1 through Sept. 30:

  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Denali National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Zion National Park

June 1 through Oct. 30

  • Acadia National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Shenandoah National Park

Jan. 1 through May 31

  • Joshua Tree National Park

Earlier this year, the agency raised its price on its Lifetime Senior Pass from $10 to $80. Before the price increase, hundreds of thousands of people ages 62 and over applied for the passes, which grant them lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks across the U.S.

Similar to the suggested uptick in prices, the more expensive senior pass came as a result of Obama-era congressional legislation aimed at addressing infrastructure and maintenance issues at national parks.

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