Donald Trump Proposes Radically High New National Park Service Entrance Fees

In a surprise move that has shocked many, the Donald Trump administration is proposing to radically increase National Park fees across the United States. This increase would see National Park Service fees double in many cases. On Tuesday the National Park Service explained that there is currently a backlog of maintenance which has been deferred by the government in the amount of $12 billion, as governments like the Trump administration simply haven’t been paying what is needed.

Because of this, there is now the very real possibility of a massive rate hike in 17 National Parks across the country. However, it is worth noting that the vast majority of National Parks are currently free to enter. In fact, only 118 parks charge admission fees to enter out of the 417. But for those 118 National Parks, there may be a hefty price increase coming soon.

At the moment, it costs $25 to $30 for each vehicle to enter these parks, regardless of the season. Yet if the Donald Trump administration has their way, this rate would skyrocket to $70 for each vehicle entering the National Park, and would be in effect over the the peak season for these parks, which is a five-month period. This is sure to rile many families who enjoy visiting National Parks and have camping expeditions over the summer so that they can partake of nature.

The Donald Trump administration is proposing doubling some National Park Service access fees.
The Donald Trump administration is proposing doubling some National Park Service access fees. [Image by John Moore/Getty Images]

John Tester, the Democratic Senator of Montana, has suggested that the public openly discuss the pros and cons of Trump’s proposal to increase National Park fees, and said that Americans already own these parks through tax dollars.

“Americans already own these parks and they shouldn’t have to empty their wallets to enjoy them. Glacier and Yellowstone should be accessible to all of us. This decision will price Montana families out of our public lands, and hurt local economies, which thrive thanks to our National Parks.”

Many have noted that it is due to the government’s incessant underfunding of National Parks that we have the issue we do today, yet the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, issued a statement about why he sees these rate increases as a necessity, according to NPR.

“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 amazing destinations they are visiting.”

While no one is disputing the importance of National Parks, many are left wondering why the government doesn’t invest more in them and why they are passing on their lack of funding to the public.

Maureen Finnerty is the chairman of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, and she has suggested that mere fee increases to enter National Parks are not a permanent solution to the budget problems faced by the government and the Trump administration. She explains that Congress must do more to ensure adequate funding and the survival of our National Parks.

“The enormity of the increases exceeds any increases in the history of the National Park Service. Fees alone are not the answer to the budget problems. At a time when there is record visitation in our National Parks, there should be adequate financial support by the Administration and the Congress.”

If you’re wondering just how seriously the Donald Trump administration takes National Parks, one need only look to the fact that in the year 2018 there will be massive cuts to the National Park Service which will see a $296.6 million decrease in its funding. The Trump administration will also be cutting staff at National Parks with 1,242 fewer employees than there were in 2017.

National Parks such as Mount Rainier would be affected by the Trump Administration's fee increase.
National Parks such as Mount Rainier would be affected by the Trump Administration’s fee increase. [Image by Rachel La Cort/AP Images]

The list of National Parks that would be affected by the Trump administrations fee increase includes, but is not limited to, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Yosemite National Park and numerous others.

How do you feel about Donald Trump’s proposed fee hike for National Parks and do you think it’s a good idea or a bad one?

[Featured Image by Michael Smith/Getty Images]