Grijalva Condemns Trump Administration Plan to Hike Entrance Fees at 17 National Parks After Proposing Massive Cuts to NPS Budget

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) criticized today’s National Park Service announcement regarding increased entrance fees at seventeen highly-visited parks. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claims the fee hikes are necessary to address the deferred maintenance backlog, but Grijalva points out that the Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed a 12.9% cut to NPS funding. If the Trump administration is serious about updating park infrastructure and improving visitor services, they should partner with Congress to increase federal funding rather than raising fees on visitors.

The fee increase and visitation period varies from park to park, but for example, people visiting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia currently pay $50 for an annual pass, a $25 vehicle fee, a $20 motorcycle fee or a $10 per person fee, but under the proposed rule, the annual pass price would increase to $75 and the per-person fee would increase to $12 all year long. During the peak visitation season (June – October) the vehicle fee would jump to $70, the motorcycle fee would more than double to $50, and the per-person fee would increase to $30.

“Secretary Zinke would rather take money directly out of the pockets of hardworking Americans instead of coming up with a serious budget proposal for the National Park System,” Grijalva said. “More than doubling the vehicle entrance fee at Grand Canyon, as this proposal would do, or any other park is not a sustainable funding strategy. We should be encouraging more people to get outdoors and enjoy our great natural wonders instead of discouraging them by raising park entrance fees. Whether it’s healthcare, tax cuts, or now access to our national parks, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress just don’t seem to care about everyday American families.”

Interested parties may submit comments via the NPS website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. The 30-day public comment period is now open and will close on November 23, 2017.

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