It may cost you a lot more to see the most beautiful sights America offers in 2018. The National Park Service just proposed a rate hike for park entrance in order to maintain and repair the parks.
That means 17 of the most popular national parks in America could charge twice the current amount to get in. But only during peak season, which includes each park’s five busiest months.
So on paper, that means a private vehicle entrance into the park would jump to $70 from the usually $25-30. Motorcycle costs would go up to $50 from the current $15-25 and entrance fees on foot jump to $30 from the current $10-15. Those fees apply to some of the country’s most popular parks, including Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite National Park. The full list of affected parks is as follows:
• Arches in Utah
• Bryce Canyon in Utah
• Canyonlands in Utah
• Denali in Alaska
• Glacier in Montana
• Grand Canyon in Arizona
• Grand Teton in Wyoming
• Olympic in Washington
• Sequoia & Kings Canyon in California
• Yellowstone in Wyoming
• Yosemite in California
• Zion in Utah
• Acadia in Maine
• Mount Rainier in Washington
• Rocky Mountain in Colorado
• Shenandoah in Virginia
• Joshua Tree in California
The good news, however, is that the annual pass price stays the same. For $80, you still get yearly access to all 417 national park sites across the country.
The fee hikes come at a time when parks badly need upgrades to aging infrastructure. Roads, bridges, campgrounds, bathrooms, waterlines and other amenities need improvements. But proposed budget cuts from the federal government make those improvements unlikely without passing the fee on to park visitors. In fact, President Trump proposes a 13% cut to the National Park Service, which is the largest since World War II. It would also result in cutting 1,200 full-time NPS jobs.
A fee hike helps to at least address the issue of finding money to keep park amenities from deteriorating. But nonpartisan advocacy group National Parks Conservation Association president Theresa Pierno blasted the proposal.
“The solution to our parks’ repair needs cannot and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors,” Pierno says in a statement. “The administration just proposed a major cut to the National Park Service budget even as parks struggle with billions of dollars in needed repairs. If the administration wants to support national parks, it needs to walk the walk and work with Congress to address the maintenance backlog.”
Despite a proposal in budget cuts, national parks remain popular. In 2016, more than 331 million people visited America’s national parks. That marked a third straight year setting a record, up 7.7% from 2015.