News reports suggest the Trump administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are backing away from their original plan to nearly triple entrance fees at 17 national parks for the peak season.
A Washington Post story today said an “Interior official familiar with the changes now being discussed said some type of increase remains almost certain but that the dramatic hike is being reconsidered for fear that it would cause visitation to plunge.”
Hannah Malvin, Recreation Policy Associate at The Wilderness Society, said:
“As families plan summer visits to their national parks, the Trump Administration should be making those visits easier not harder. Instead, the steep increase originally planned would have hit low-income families especially hard. That’s especially outrageous when the Administration is cutting deals to help oil and gas companies drill our public lands and waters at bargain basement prices.”
In congressional testimony last month, Zinke justified raising the park entrance fee by singling out veterans, older Americans and fourth graders who can use programs that reduce or waive the fees. For FY18, Trump and Zinke proposed billions of dollars in budget cuts to the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Service.
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.
Michael Reinemer, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-3949, Michael_reinemer@tws.org
Hannah Malvin, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-3941, Hannah_malvin@tws.org