Acadia-area groups raise concerns about possible tripling of park entrance fee

Acadia-area groups raise concerns about possible tripling of park entrance fee

Acadia-area groups raise concerns about possible tripling of park entrance fee

The cost of a drive down Skyline Drive or a hike up Old Rag Mountain could almost triple if steep entrance fee increases proposed by the National Park Service this week are approved.

The park service announced a proposal Tuesday that would increase entrance fees to $70 per vehicle, $50 per motorcycle and $30 per person, during a five-month peak season at 17 parks across the country.

While Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not involved in the fee situation, many other handsome parks that Chattanoogans visit (Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite, and Yellowstone) are on the list for increased fees.

Revenue would be used to restore and improve facilities, infrastructure and visitor services, with an emphasis on deferred maintenance projects.

These changes are just a proposal and wouldn't go into effect at the Shenandoah National Park until the next peak season, starting June 1st.

Right now, the entry fee price hike proposal is open for public comment for the next 30 days.

"We're not against fee increases", Emily Douce, National Parks Conservation Association budget and appropriations director, told Washingtonian.

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Many are condemning the proposal, saying that it's likely to backfire and would result in lower revenue for the parks, who are already contending with a reduced budget.

The president of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, Susan Sherman, anxious the fee increase would discourage people from visiting.

"National parks are meant to be affordable so middle-class families can enjoy America's most spectacular natural beauty", said Sen.

The increase would help address aging infrastructure and maintenance concerns in parks across the country.

"FOA was definitely surprised by the timing and the scale of this proposal, and are concerned that such an increase may serve as a deterrent for the average citizen to enjoy our parks", David MacDonald, president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, said in a statement. Even before then, in 2015, the parks were faced with major budgetary concerns, according to a report from Mother Jones, who wrote that it would cost the federal government $11.5 billion to fix numerous country's older public lands. The park service, which surveys have shown mainly attracts white people and relatively few Latinos or black people, has increased its outreach in recent years, an effort many say will dissolve with higher prices.

Acadia now charges $50 for its annual entrance pass fee. But to him, the National Park Service Legacy Act, HR 2584 and SB 751, pending in Congress and backed by Washington's congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle, is a better solution than targeting only visitors. "The national parks offer SO MUCH MORE".

However, many Montanans are angry about the increase saying it will make the parks less accessible for locals and the funding to fix parks should come from Congress.

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