The cost of getting into Rocky Mountain National Park could more than double during summers.
The National Park Service announced on Tuesday that it is considering increasing fees at 17 popular national parks around the country during peak times to address an $11.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog.
Getting into Rocky Mountain National Park on a day pass currently costs $20 per vehicle or $10 per person for pedestrians and cyclists. The National Park Service is considering raising day pass prices to $70 per vehicle and $30 per person.
The raised prices would go into effect from June 1-Oct. 31, a five-month period.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, a Trump appointee, said that raising prices will shore up aging infrastructure.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” Zinke said. “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. We need to have the vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids’ grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today.”
Raising entry fees so dramatically could prevent some families from visiting, though. Theresa Pierno, CEO and President of the National Parks Conservation Association said in a statement that the cost of maintenance “should not be largely shouldered by its visitors.”
“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.
“The administration just proposed a major cut to the National Park Service budget even as parks struggle with billions of dollars in needed repairs. If the administration wants to support national parks, it needs to walk the walk and work with Congress to address the maintenance backlog.
“A proposal before Congress now, the National Park Service Legacy Act, would establish a more substantial and sustainable investment in our parks. The administration should urge Congress to put this bill on the president’s desk and pass a budget that puts more money, not less, into our national parks.”
The National Park Service will have a 30-day public comment period regarding the proposed price increases that starts Tuesday and ends Nov. 23. You can click here to submit a comment.