If you've had the Grand Canyon on your bucket list, now may be the best time to get packing and go. Yesterday, the National Park Service proposed a hefty entrance fee increase that would affect the country's most-visited national parks, including Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion.
, entrance fees during peak season (a.k.a. the busiest months of the year) at 17 parks could more than double — yes, you heard that right. Private vehicle fees would jump to $70, from the current fee of $25 to $30. Motorcycle fees would go up to $50, from the the current rate of $15 to $25. The cost for people biking and entering the park on foot would double to $30, from the current rate of $15 to $20. The cost of the annual rate, however, will remain unchanged, at $80.
The proposal would affect the following 17 national parks during the 2018 peak season:
- Bryce Canyon
- Grand Canyon
- Grand Teton
- Joshua Tree
- Mount Rainier
- Rocky Mountain
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon
The National Park Service believes that this price adjustment would result in an additional $70 million in revenue per year that could be used for "improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks." In recent years, the Park Service has vocalized their , including roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms and other visitor services at the parks .
While this proposal isn't completely out of the blue, it's a hard hit for the Park Service. It's understandable: when prices go up, there's a chance that attendance could go down. And this isn't the first time that the Park Service has made drastic changes to entrance fees in the last few years. In 2015, they raised prices for several parks including Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Mount Rainer. Most recently, they from $10 to a whopping $80.
"We should not increase fees to such a degree as to make these places – protected for all Americans to experience – unaffordable for some families to visit. The solution to our parks' repair needs cannot and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors," Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association, said in a .
As of right now, this proposal is still up in the air. If implemented, it will go into effect next year. Until then, the Park Service is encouraging people to voice their opinions — whatever they may be — on the .