Glacier, Yellowstone entrance fees could increase dramatically

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The new fees, if put in place, would affect popular parks across the country, from Acadia National Park in ME to Denali National Park in Alaska.

The National Park Service is proposing raising the price, per private vehicle, to $70 at 17 national parks, the website reports.

The higher cost may keep some visitors away, but it's not clear how the new fee increases will affect overall park attendance.

A public comment period on the proposal starts Tuesday and goes until November 23.

"Secretary Zinke would rather take money directly out of the pockets of hardworking Americans instead of coming up with a serious budget proposal for the National Park System", said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The NPS estimates that all of these fee increases could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year, which is a 34 percent increase from the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016.

The NPS is also proposing revised fees for commercial tours.

The new admission pricing would apply to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Teton, and other popular parks, most of which are in the West.

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The $10 or $15 fee for a person entering a park on foot or riding a bicycle, would be raised to $30.

Over the years, the park service has implemented several initiatives to offer easier access to national parks, including the Every Kid in a Park program which offers free access passes to fourth graders, and the America the lovely pass for seniors - which increased by $10 over the summer.

"It's hard enough just to pay for the gas and lodging and getting transportation let alone the steep fee getting into the park", says Allyson Khan, who has visited several national parks.

The cost of a drive down Skyline Drive or a hike up Old Rag Mountain could almost triple if steep entrance fee increases proposed by the National Park Service this week are approved.

The National Park Service believes that this price adjustment would result in an additional $70 million in revenue per year that could be used for "improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks". "Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that".

The news of the possible increase did not sit will people who frequent the park.

"The enormity of the increases exceeds any increases in the history of the National Park Service", said Maureen Finnerty, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, an organization of current and former parks employees.

Annual $80 passes for federal lands would not change, though fees would go up for pedestrians and motorcyclists. And Joshua Tree National Park's peak season would be implemented as soon as practicable in 2018.

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