State attorneys general bash plan to hike national park fees


The California parks included in this fee hike are Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and Joshua Tree National Park.

The National Park Service has extended the public comment period for a proposed fee hike in over a dozen national parks including Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

"We can not let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy".

Becerra said the fee increase would greatly impact modest-income families.

Individual entrance fees would go from current cost of 10 USA dollars to 15, even to 30 US dollars, it says.

The top government lawyers from 10 states and the District of Columbia sent a letter Wednesday saying they don't want national parks to be "places only for the wealthy". The fee for a motorcycle would more than double to $50 from $15 to $25. Individual entry fees would go up from $15 to $30. If approved, the increases will go into effect in 2018. Led by Zinke, the National Park Service proposed the increase last month - a move aimed at addressing a $11.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog for deteriorating buildings, restrooms, roads, trails, bridges and campgrounds.

The Park Service says it would raise $70 million annually under the proposal.

"We need to have a vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids' grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today", Zinke said in a statement. He argued the agency has not done the necessary outreach to those who could be affected, and slammed it for not undertaking an economic analysis, saying the fee increases are "unlikely" to achieve the stated goal of addressing deferred maintenance backlog.

Becerra and his counterparts, including those in New York, Oregon and Arizona, argue the plan could reduce revenue by lowering visits and comes as the Trump administration is proposing far greater cuts to the park agency's budget than the revenues the plan is expected to bring in. It is not known whether the same thing would happen if fees are raised again. While acknowledging the park service's maintenance backlog, the attorneys general said President Donald Trump should turn to Congress for additional funding. However, the NPS extended it until December 22.