Fee Increase by Administration Goes Too Far
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
The Trump Administration proposed yesterday a massive fee increase in 17 national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches and Rocky Mountain while providing only a 30-day comment period to consider public input. The fee increases are part of an effort to address a 12 billion dollar deferred maintenance problem in our national parks.
The Coalition supports creative means to address the deferred maintenance problem however the enormous increase in fees is too much too soon. The suggested increase will likely prevent many families from being able to visit one of these targeted parks. Fee increases at this level could also adversely affect the economies of surrounding communities.
The most effective answer to the deferred maintenance issue is for the Congress to provide adequate appropriations to the Park Service. The agency’s budget has fallen from 0.2% (1/5 of one percent) of the federal budget to about 0.067% (1/15 of one percent) of the federal budget since the early 1980’s. The proposal estimates that less that 1 percent of the needed funds will be provided by the increases.
The Chair of the Coalition’s Executive Council, Maureen Finnerty, says, “The enormity of the increases exceeds any increases in the history of the National Park Service. We were shocked when we read the Administration’s proposal. Fees alone are not the answer to the budget problems. At a time when there is record visitation in our National Parks, there should be adequate financial support by the Administration and the Congress.”
The more than 1,400 members of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks are all current, former, and retired employees of the National Park Service with nearly 35,000 years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources.