NPS Extends Public Comment Period for Fee Increase

Yosemite National Park visitors gather at a viewing spot for Half Dome shrouded by smoke from nearby fires in July

The proposal, under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, would raise vehicle entrance fees to $70, from $25 or $30 today.

"We can not let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy".

A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general on Wednesday called the Trump administration's plan to hike entry fees at national parks a "cruel deception", contending higher prices could force Americans to choose between "beauty and or bread". The entrance fees for motorcycles would go from $25 to $50.

Becerra said the fee increase would greatly impact modest-income families.

"We can not let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy", the attorneys wrote in a letter on Wednesday to the acting director of the National Parks Service.

A group of state attorneys general is urging the National Park Service to scrap its proposed entrance fee hike at 17 popular national parks.

The parks affected by new fees would include Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Yellowstone, Zion, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. If approved, the increases would go into effect in 2018.

Other attorney generals who have joined Attorney General Becerra in the letter are the Attorneys General of Arizona, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The Service estimated that the proposal would generate an additional 70 million US dollars a year to help maintain and upgrade park infrastructure.

The Service announced its plan in October, citing a 11.3-billion-U.S. -dollar maintenance backlog. "For every dollar the punitive fee increase raises from families, the Trump Administration intends to cut more than 4 dollars from the National Park Service's budget", Becerra said in a statement.

A public comment period on the proposal runs until November 23, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website.

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