U.S. increases entrance fees for popular national parks

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Photo Credit: CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock

The National Park Service will begin charging higher entrance fees at some national parks on June 1, as part of an effort to raise more money to pay for park maintenance.

The charge for most seven-day vehicle passes will be increased by $5. Yosemite National Park, for example, will increase the price of a seven-day vehicle pass to the park from $30 to $35. While some parks will implement their fee increase on Friday, others will do so one year from now, and the last batch will implement their fee increases by June 1, 2020.

Click for a list of parks and the scheduled increases.

More than two-thirds of the country's 417 national parks will remain free to enter.

The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.

The price hikes come after a public comment period following an initial proposal in October 2017 to implement larger price increases at 17 of the most highly visited parks. The National Park Service instead opted for more modest increases at 117 parks.

All revenue from the fee increases will remain with the National Park Service, and at least 80% of the money will stay in the park where it is collected. The money is intended to address the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog at the parks.

National park entrance fees totaled $199 million in 2016. The price increases are expected to add about $60 million in revenue. 

In addition to implementing the fee increases, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and lawmakers from both parties have proposed the National Park Restoration Act, which would use new revenue from mining and drilling on federal lands and waters to maintain parks.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI