Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Peak Season Daily Pass Could Cost $70 At Rocky Mountain National Park

2012 of a “Bull Elk bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park.” 2012 of a “Bull Elk bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park.”
Andrew Cummings | 28 October, 2017, 01:09

Under the new proposal, each vehicle would be charged $70 to enter the park, or almost three times as much as the current $25 fee, during peak season.

The Interior Department has proposed raising entrance fees at 17 of what it called "highly visited national parks" - including Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park and others - only two years after a similar increase in fees at parks across the country. A pass to Shenandoah National Park now costs $25, while visits to some other parks, including the Grand Canyon, now cost $30.

The all-parks annual pass - the America the attractive pass - costs $80 and covers all federal recreation lands.

National Park Service spokesman Jeff Olson said the proposed increase would be a big boon for the estimated $11.5 billion maintenance backlog in park sites across the U.S. While it would by no means take care of everything, he said, it would go a long way toward getting park infrastructure back into shape.

At Acadia, which consistently ranks among the top 10 most-visited national parks, the "peak visitor season" would stretch from June 1 to October 31.

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

However, fee increases that were put in place at some parks in 2015 do not seem to have had a negative impact on the number of visitors.

The Park Service says it expects to raise $70 million a year with the latest proposal for parks mostly in the West.

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The new fee schedule would establish a $70-per-car peak season fee for the parks. "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 awesome destinations they are visiting".

Minutolo credited Acadia staff with doing a tremendous job of trying to keep up with maintenance and infrastructure needs within the roughly 50,000-acre park.

While acknowledging the backlog in maintenance projects, Poliquin said he plans to discuss the matter with the park service in hopes it can find a solution that "will not disrupt the attraction to Acadia that the region relies on, and can ensure that ME families are able to still visit Acadia without a burdensome financial cost".

But she and Kaine said increasing entrance fees is not the way to address the issue.

Ultimately, whether or not entry fees are raised at the 17 parks, the NPS is celebrating something of a tourism boom.

President Donald Trump announced plans to cut the park service's budget by 12.9 percent in 2017.

An annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park right now is $60. "This is a great way to decrease diversity in the national parks". "The other 20% will be spent on projects in other national parks".

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