NPS Proposes Doubling Glacier Park Entrance Fee to Cover Maintenance Backlog

Weeklong pass to Glacier, other popular parks would jump from $30 to $70 during peak season

By Justin Franz
Visitors pay for a pass at the west entrance of Glacier National Park. Beacon File Photo

The National Park Service is proposing to more than double the entrance fee to Glacier National Park and 16 other popular federal parks during peak season to help address deferred maintenance.

If the new rates were enacted, a seven-day pass for a single motor vehicle in Glacier Park would increase from $30 to $70. For a motorcycle, the fee would go from $25 to $50. For someone on a bicycle or on foot, the entrance fee would increase from $15 to $30. NPS officials said the new price structure would generate an additional $70 million annually.

“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “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.”

The increased fees would be in effect in Glacier Park from May through September.

Earlier this year, the NPS proposed increasing the annual pass from $50 to $60. Under the latest proposal, a park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.

The fee increases proposals come as the NPS faces proposed budget cuts. The Trump administration is proposing to slash nearly $380 million from the NPS budget, including $956,000 from Glacier specifically.

Glacier Park had its busiest summer on record in 2017 and will shatter its annual record for the fourth consecutive year. The park has already surpassed 3 million visitors.

The National Park System’s maintenance backlog was estimated at $11.3 billion in 2016, according to the agency. Glacier Park’s deferred maintenance backlog was $148.2 million.

Fee increases are also being considered at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah and Joshua Tree national parks.

The National Park Service is also proposing entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees.

A public comment period on the peak-season entrance fee proposal will be open from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

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