Published: Fri, November 24, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

National Parks Fee Input

National Parks Fee Input

In a letter addressed to the National Park Service, 11 states including California, New York and Arizona urged the federal government to freeze a proposal that would double or triple entrance fees at 17 national parks.

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

The comment period was about to expire, but U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) called on the National Park Service to grant a 30-day extension for people to have input on the plan.

The attorneys general said raising entrance fees to hopefully stem the park service's growing maintenance backlog would further deter low-income and minority communities from visiting the country's stunning collection of national parks. Individual entrance fees would go from today's cost of $10 to $15, to $30.

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.

If the fees are approved, the NPS estimates the increase could generate as much as $70 million.

Most of the 17 sites are in the west including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand canyon and more.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke introduced the proposal on October 24, saying the hike would be a boon to the park service's estimated $11.3 billion deferred-maintenance shortfall. They also question the rationale, saying President Donald Trump has proposed reducing the service's overall budget.

Public comment on the proposal is open through December 22. It is not known whether the same thing would happen if fees are raised again.

In the letter, Becerra offered a glimpse at his legal theory, saying the National Park Service proposal does not adequately take into account the impact of the fee increase on park visitors. Nationwide, national park deferred maintenance totals more than $11.3 billion.

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