Interior backs away from plan to double fees at Yellowstone and other parks, will increase by $5 instead

Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 18:59:10-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Interior will raise fees at national parks by $5, backing away from an earlier proposal to double fees to $70 at places like Yellowstone National Park to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Both Yellowstone and Glacier parks will see the fee increase rise from $30 to $35 per vehicle June 1. The per-person fee will rise from $15 to $20, and motorcycle charges will go from $25 to $30, according to the National Parks Service. 

Annual passes will go up to $10 to $70 for unlimited access to one specific park.

“I want to thank the American people who made their voices heard through the public comment process on the original fee proposal. Your input has helped us develop a balanced plan that focuses on modest increases at the 117 fee-charging parks as opposed to larger increases proposed for 17 highly visited national parks,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a former Montana congressman, said in a statement.

Last fall, the Interior Department had proposed doubling fees at 17 national parks, including Yellowstone and Glacier. Agency officials said they needed to raise the money to pay for an $11 billion backlog of deferred maintenance nationwide. 

That plan faced strong criticism from park advocates, recreational groups and lawmakers from both parties whose states benefit from tourism dollars.

In response to the new plan, Sen. Steve Daines of Montana stated that parks must remain affordable and accessible to all visitors.

“It’s critical that the National Park Service take steps to address the maintenance backlog affecting many of our parks, but making it more costly for American families to visit these public lands won’t solve the problem alone," Daines, a Republican, said in the statement.

See also: Proposal could double entrance fees at Yellowstone and Glacier