The National Park Service has added 30 days to the public comment period on proposed entrance fee increases that would more than double the cost of visiting Glacier or Yellowstone national parks, among others.
The extension came after Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in writing acting NPS Director Mike Reynolds for more time. The price hikes would affect 17 national parks. The original comment deadline was Nov. 23. The new deadline is Friday, Dec. 22.
“Although we respect the National Park Service’s attempt to find solutions for the deferred maintenance backlog, raising entrance fees to this degree could unfairly burden the public and create new barriers to the visitors that you hope to reach and inspire,” the senators wrote on Nov. 14.
“Likewise, the many small business owners and operators that will be impacted by increased (commercial use authorization) operator fees need to be provided an opportunity to assess the implications of this new policy on their businesses, employees and customers," they wrote.
The National Park Service faces an estimated $11 billion maintenance backlog. The fee increase was expected to raise about $70 million a year.
The proposed increases would raise the cost of a vehicle entering Glacier or Yellowstone from $30 to $70. Individual entry fees would go up from $15 to $30.