Americans less likely to visit national parks due to higher entry fees proposed by Trump

Dec 21, 2017

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, one of the national parks where higher park entry fees would take effect.

Loren Kerns, flickr

National poll results released yesterday by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) find that Americans oppose the significant increase in entrance fees for national parks proposed by the Trump Administration.  Most of those polled oppose the fee increase (68 percent) and would be less likely to visit national parks due to the increase (64 percent).

The National Park Service is accepting comments from the public about this until Friday, December 22, 2017. 

The proposed fee increase would affect some of the U.S.’s most popular parks including Yellowstone, Shenandoah and Joshua Tree. Entrance fees would more than double, increasing to $70 per vehicle from $30. The poll found that:

  • Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) oppose the proposed fee increase, including majorities across all political and major demographic groups.
  • Among Americans with household incomes under $30,000 per year, who would be most impacted by the fee hike, 71 percent say they would be less likely to visit a national park if fees were increased.
  • When it comes to funding national parks, Americans overwhelmingly believe that increasing federal funding is a better approach than increasing entrance fees (72 percent versus 28 percent, respectively).
  • An overwhelming 92 percent of Americans agree that access to national parks provides kids with valuable opportunities to be active outdoors and learn about the natural world.

"Secretary Zinke and President Trump are putting a lump of coal in the stocking of every American who loves our National Parks. The fee increases are a bad Christmas gift for the American public -- the owners of these parks – and the fees won’t provide significant relief for the National Park System,” said Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy at The Wilderness Society and Vice Chair of Outdoors Alliance for Kids. 

“The poll results confirm that these fee increases will reduce park visits. This is tragic on its own because these places have been protected for people to enjoy. However, it also means the fee increases are unlikely to produce the projected $69 million in new revenue. Even if they do, it will still take 165 years to pay off the current maintenance backlog. Clearly, this is not a serious proposal for addressing the backlog. We urge Secretary Zinke and the Trump Administration to withdraw this proposal and keep the parks open and accessible to everyone.”

Methodology

The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide between December 13 and 17, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.  For a slide presentation of the results, click here. For topline results, click here.

Contacts: 

Michael Reinemer, Wilderness Society, michael_Reinemer@tws.org, 202-429-3949

Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy, The Wilderness Society, paul_sandford@tws.org; 202-429-2615, cell: 202-340-6460.

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is a national strategic partnership of nearly 100 organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth, and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors.