America’s most popular National Parks to see a $5 fee increase

Take note. Public outcries do work.

After Secretary Zinke (uggh) proposed doubling of the admittance fees into our nationals National Parks in October, the public, rightfully so, put up a fight. Over 100,000 people submitted comments opposing such a ludicrous increase.

Instead, the National Parks Service announced a five dollar increase today to all 117 fee-charging parks.

From Zinke:

I want to thank the American people who made their voices heard through the public comment process on the original fee proposal. Your input has helped us develop a balanced plan that focuses on modest increases at the 117 fee-charging parks as opposed to larger increases proposed for 17 highly visited national parks.

The NPS says 80% of money attributed to the fees will stay in individual parks which as seen 1.5B visitors in the last five years – a dramatic increase.

“Repairing infrastructure is also about access for all Americans,” Secretary Zinke said. “Not all visitors to our parks have the ability to hike with a 30-pound pack and camp in the wilderness miles away from utilities. In order for families with young kids, elderly grandparents, or persons with disabilities to enjoy the parks, we need to rebuild basic infrastructure like roads, trails, lodges, restrooms and visitors centers.”

I’m personally okay with this five-dollar increase for a couple of reasons 1) I have the annual pass so I’m insulated but more seriously 2) It’s not a sizeable increase and shouldn’t affect anyone’s travel plans. However, the national parks are our public land and should be accessible to as many people as possible.

A lot of national parks are already difficult to reach on their own and an a doubling of the price could have made some families think twice about visiting. On top of that, National Parks are already pretty non-diverse, with minorities taking advantage of ‘America’s Best Idea’ at a smaller rate than those of caucasians. By having a 100% increase, you could be creating a scenario where it turns the parks even more white which should be the goal of no one. (A 2016 Pew Research Poll found median income of Whites to be $28,000 more than Hispanics or Blacks. Furthermore, visiting the national parks is an elastic demand situation where a price increase would directly correlate with the demand and would decrease the likelihood of visitation for those with less money…. Sorry for going full Econ-Wonk on you all.)

Luckily, a five dollar increase shouldn’t have this effect and will give each park some more resources for improvements and personnel hiring.

Most environmental/outdoors groups were happy/content with the decision:

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

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