Grand Canyon May Increase Visitor Fees: Officials Say They’re ‘Preparing For The Next 100 Years’
Entrance fees at the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona may be increased for the first time in more than 15 years.
According to Reuters, a seven-day pass will increase from $25 to $30 per vehicle under the new proposal. Motorcycle fees will jump from $12 to $25, and pedestrians will be charged $15 instead of $12. Season passes will also be increasing from $50 to $60.
Grand Canyon spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski said raising the fees is part of a plan to improve the national park.
“It has been a long time since the fees have increased. The money will be used to make sure that each person’s visit is the best that we can provide.”
Shedlowski added that she does not know how much more revenue will be brought into the Grand Canyon if the proposal goes into effect. Currently, entry fees bring in around $18 million per year for the national park.
If approved, this would be the first time since 1997 that the Grand Canyon has increased its fees. National parks spokeswoman Karen Kupper mentioned that increasing fees will help with maintenance and upgrades. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.
“We’re preparing for the next 100 years. We know more people are going to be coming… we need to be ready for them.”
The Grand Canyon, which brings in more than 4.5 million people annually, is not the only national park hiking its fees. 115 others are seeing an increase of fees across the country including Grand Teton and Yellowstone, both of which are located in Wyoming.
The Arizona Republic reports that public comments on the Grand Canyon proposal are being accepted through January 7. Those interested in voicing their opinion can send an email to email@example.com or write a letter to Grand Canyon National Park, Attention: Proposed Fee Increase, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.
In addition to the proposed hiking of fees, the Grand Canyon is also seeking to finally secure a long-term concessions contract for the South Rim. According to National Parks Traveler, Superintendent Dave Uberuagua has been trying to reach a 15-year agreement with Xanterra Parks & Resorts for the past three years, but has had to fall back on a one-year extension each time. If Uberuagua doesn’t have a contract soon, the services in that section will be closed. Now seeking a one-year temporary agreement, Uberuagua is staying positive on the situation.
“I feel confident going forward that this will all work out, and that in the end we’ll have a concessionaire that will have a good contract and the Park Service will have a reasonable return of profit, and the service to the visitor will be improved and very satisfactory.”
A related report from the Inquisitr points out that an endangered gray wolf may have been spotted in the Grand Canyon. If it turns out to be true, it will be the first gray wolf to appear in the Grand Canyon since the 1940s.
[Images via Grand Canyon Railway and Scenery Cart]