Trump's interior secretary proposes hefty entrance fee hikes at Acadia

The road to St. Mary in Glacier National Park

The road to St. Mary in Glacier National Park

The National Park Service is floating a steep increase to entrance fees at 17 of its most popular sites next year.

Currently, at Yellowstone and Zion national parks, rates are $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle and $15 for individuals on foot.

Shenandoah National Park stretches along the Blue Ridge Mountains from Waynesboro to Front Royal and includes a number of popular attractions, including Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic road through the park, and Old Rag, which is regarded as one of the most challenging hikes in the state.

Public comment is open until November 23 and you can submit your thoughts here.

Democratic lawmakers were quick to slam the park fee proposal.

The higher fee would commence next year if approved by National Park Service leaders.

"Suggesting that a cut and a massive fee increase is going to fix this, well it's not helpful for American families, and it's not helpful for the parks", said Neal Desai, director of regional field operations in Oakland for the National Parks Conservation Association, a promoter of the park service since 1919.

The National Parks Service says many of America's most iconic spots are seeing more wear-and-tear on their aging infrastructure. "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 unbelievable destinations they are visiting".

While acknowledging the backlog in maintenance projects, Poliquin said he plans to discuss the matter with the park service in hopes it can find a solution that "will not disrupt the attraction to Acadia that the region relies on, and can ensure that ME families are able to still visit Acadia without a burdensome financial cost". "Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that".

In 2016, Acadia reported 3.3 million "visits", up from roughly 2.8 million visits the previous year.

Moving forward, Pierno suggested that Congress should help shoulder the maintenance backlog, regarding the billions of dollars that many national parks need in repairs.

The NPS, in a document justifying the amount of money it requested, said the Trump administration's proposed cuts could result in closing campgrounds, reduction of services, and loss of staff at 90 per cent of parks around the country.

An annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park right now is $60. "The national parks offer SO MUCH MORE".

Jim Tomlin, the president of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains 101 miles of the trail that runs through the park, hypothesized that the change would simply lead more people to buy the national pass, depriving local parks of revenue.

However, many Montanans are angry about the increase saying it will make the parks less accessible for locals and the funding to fix parks should come from Congress.

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