Senators ask to have national park fee increase proposal withdrawn

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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- Almost a dozen U.S. Senators, including Tim Kaine of Virginia, are asking to have a proposal to increase entrance fees at several national parks withdrawn.

The senators sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to ask to have the proposal withdrawn pending further review.

Under the proposal, entrance fees at 17 national parks, including Shenandoah National Park, would jump dramatically during peak season.

For SNP, that jump would be from the current $25 to $70 per vehicle.
"The National Park Service describes the fee increases 'as part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience.' We are unable to see how doubling or tripling a park entrance fee is anything other than an effort to exclude many Americans from enjoying their national parks," wrote the senators. "This proposal seems directly contrary to your often-stated goal of improving public access to our public lands."

The senators are asking for an analysis and the justification used to establish the proposed rate increase that will let Congress see the rationale and need for it.

Beginning in 2018, entrance fees would jump at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Joshua Tree national parks as well as SNP.

According to a release, the fee increases could price out many visitors and deny families the chance to visit iconic landscapes.

In 2016, 331 million people contributed about $18.4 billion to local economies because of the national parks.

To read the full letter, click on the link in the Related Documents box.

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