With the Trump administration proposing a $297 million cut to the National Park Service budget, maintenance actually would fall further behind even with the fee increase. The entrance fee for an individual hiker would triple - from $10 to $30.
These steps would assure that funds will be available to address maintenance issues without undermining the very goal of our national parks: to welcome the American people to the lands set aside for their "use, resort, and recreation", as promised in the original Yosemite Charter of 1864. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.
"Bed and breakfasts, breweries, wineries, everyything that relies on people to visit the park and then spend their time down at these establishments".
"If that increase is on par with the inflation that we're getting with the entry fee, it will make guiding in the park and sharing such a treasure unobtainable for me".
I personally expressed to Secretary Zinke my strong objection to the proposed steep entrance fee hikes for our National Parks. "Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the wonderful destinations they are visiting".
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The maintenance backlog was estimated at $12 billion earlier this year.
Congressional appropriations make up more than 85 percent of the Parks Service's budget, while entrance fees constitute less than 5 percent. Blackgoat is a member of the Navajo Nation. "Those people that come to the park just want a nice day in the outdoors". "But what can be done to be more inclusive of these underserved populations with lower incomes?" The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; 118 of 417 park sites charge an entrance fee, and the current proposal raises fees at 17 fee-charging parks. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees.
I understand the Department's concerns over revenues, and our sub-committee stands ready to assure that revenues generated in our parks through visitations and attendant commerce stay in our parks. The fees will also cover the administrative costs of receiving, reviewing and processing CUA applications and required reports.
"... Before taking the action of raising fees to this degree, we strongly urge you to consider all available options and to consider the full breadth of the impact of this action on Acadia and the other parks", the senators wrote.