Speed Reads

National Treasure

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposes doubling visitor fees at popular national parks

On Tuesday, the Department of the Interior proposed sharply raising fees next year at 17 "highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons," typically May through September. "The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. "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 amazing destinations they are visiting."

Under the proposal — which is open for public comment until Nov. 23 — entrance fees would be raised to $70 per car, from the typical $30, and $30 per pedestrian or cyclist, from $15. There would be an annual pass specific to each park for $70. The plan would raise a projected $70 million for maintenance and repairs — or 0.01 percent of the $700 billion Congress has approved for the Pentagon next year. The targeted national parks are: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah.

The National Park Service notes that only 118 of America's 417 national parks charge admission at all. If this rate hike is approved, next year might be a good time to start exploring some of the lesser-known ones.