The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced that it is considering increases to fees at highly visited national parks (including Yosemite) during peak visitor seasons, in an effort to generate revenue for improvements to aging infrastructures (roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms and other visitor services).
Under the proposal, entrance fees to Yosemite National Park during peak season would increase to $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot, beginning May 1, 2018.
A public comment period on this fee proposal will be open from now to Nov. 23, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.
McClintock’s response to fee increase
I personally expressed to Secretary Zinke my strong objection to the proposed steep entrance fee hikes for our National Parks.
Two of the principal objectives I have set as Chairman of the House Federal Lands Sub-committee are to restore public access to the public lands and to restore the federal government as a good neighbor to those communities directly impacted by the public lands. The proposed fee increases run counter to both of these policies.
At a time when we are trying to encourage more Americans to visit and value our national parks, more than doubling entrance fees is certain to have a significant impact on park visits and the commerce they bring to our gateway communities.
I understand the Department’s concerns over revenues, and our sub-committee stands ready to assure that revenues generated in our parks through visitations and attendant commerce stay in our parks. This is the central principle of my HR 3607, affecting park health clinic funding. Meanwhile, the House Natural Resources Committee is seeking to prioritize Land and Water Conservation Funds away from excessive land acquisition and toward addressing the Park Service’s growing maintenance backlog.
These steps would assure that funds will be available to address maintenance issues without undermining the very purpose of our national parks: to welcome the American people to the lands set aside for their “use, resort, and recreation,” as promised in the original Yosemite Charter of 1864.
Congressman Tom McClintock, 4th District California