The Trump administration’s most recent attacks on public lands and national monuments includes a proposed $70 entrance fee to national parks.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced this week that they plan to increase entrance fees at 17 national parks during their busiest months of the year. They claim this is an effort to raise money for infrastructure improvements. Under these new plans, entrance fees for cars will jump from $25 to $70 between June 1 and October 31.
Jim Northup, former superintendent of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, thinks this is outrageous and goes against the “democratic idea” of making the parks “accessible to all Americans regardless of income level.” Northup believes the fee increase will be a huge deterrent for people who want to visit the parks.
Northup supports an entrance fee that is “reasonable and supported by the public,” but believes this new increase is extreme.
Of course, the Trump administration’s new proposed budget plan increases funding for dirty energy development on public lands, while cutting everything else. The proposed budget blueprint was passed by the House this week.
The proposed budget includes major cuts to the National Park Service, which will lose 1,242 full time staff members and be left with inadequate funding for properly maintaining the parks.
Maureen Finnerty, chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, said: “The enormity of the increases exceeds any increases in the history of the National Park Service. At a time when there is record visitation in our National Parks, there should be adequate financial support by the Administration and the Congress.”
The coalition, which includes more than 1,000 current, former, and retired employees of the national Park Service believes other “creative means” should be used to address maintenance problems.
Trump: Let's let oil companies drill in national parks
Also Trump: let's double the park entrance fee for familieshttps://t.co/ZWxQHC67o0
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) October 25, 2017
National parks affected by the fee increase will be:
- Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks starting on May 1, 2018
- Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks starting on June 1, 2018;
- Joshua Tree National Park “as soon as practicable” in 2018.
After the announcement, a 30-day public comment period began and will continue until November 23, with a final decision by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke early next year.