Get Ready For National Parks to Get Way More Expensive


Staying indoors and watching TV under a mountain of blankets might just be America's new national mandate: Entrance fees to 17 of the country's most popular national parks are set for a potentially massive price increase under new guidelines proposed by the National Park Service, meaning the cost of enjoying marvelous nature is now in the comforting hands of the federal government. 

Under the potential price hikes, which NPS is floating in an effort to fund infrastructure and "badly needed" maintenance needs, the cost of vehicle passes would increase from $30 to $70 for non-commercial vehicles during "peak season," or the busiest five months of the year at each particular national park. The measure would increase entrance fees to $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. The fattened admissions would increase NPS revenue by a reported $70 million a year, and basically put the Grand Canyon on equal footing with a price-gouging afternoon at your local Six Flags.

According to the agency's news release: "The peak season for each park would be defined as its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation," meaning various parks will be subjected to the price hikes at different times. Even though it's enough to spike your economic anxiety, the price hikes have not been finalized.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said of the news: "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. Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that.”

Parks that would see their admissions fees increase on May 1, 2018 are listed below: 

  • Arches
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Canyonlands
  • Denali
  • Glacier
  • Grand Canyon 
  • Grand Teton
  • Olympic
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon
  • Yellowstone
  • Yosemite
  • Zion National Parks

But that's not all: Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks would see their admissions jump by June 1, 2018, under the proposal, while Joshua Tree National Park would be subjected to the price hike "as soon as practicable in 2018," according to the agency. 

It's worth nothing that NPS has certainly granted America plenty discounts in the past, with $10 lifetime passes offered to senior citizens earlier this year. The opportunity for free passes on holidays is a pretty constant concession as well. Still, you can subject the government to a barrage of angry comments on the matter of price hikes in the hopes of changing its mind. You can also mail in your thoughts the old fashioned way, and NPS promises it will review your concerned missives before November 23. 

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.