Why You Shouldn’t Complain About National Park Fees Increasing
There has been a lot of discussion on national parks in the past few years, and especially regarding to park fees. Mount Rainier National Park is increasing several important fees this week, such as vehicle, campsite, and bicycle rates. In June, Yellowstone National Park will be boosting their fees as well. A Yellowstone pass used to grant entrance into Grand Teton National Park, but this is no longer the case. You will have to purchase a more expensive joint pass, or the $80 pass that will give you access to parks across the nation.
The National Park Service gave a total of 131 parks permission to raise their fees at the start of 2015. Part of this initiative is due to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary coming up in 2016. They want to see the quality of their national parks improve as they hope to bring in more visitors.
According to the National Park Service’s proposed fee schedule, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was told its annual pass fees could increase from $25 to $50, while Crater Lake National Park is allowed to raise their per-person admission prices from $5 to $12.
Yellowstone administrators justify the price increases due to “necessary funding for important resource protection,” according to the Powell Tribune. Entrance fees are put toward protecting our natural resources and providing a better overall experience for visitors. Some of these expenses include rehabilitation of park structures, radio and utility systems improvements, native fish restoration, and aquatic invasive species mitigation.
Aside from boosting the quality and wellbeing of the parks themselves, park fees benefit the economy of the region surrounding them, as they draw more and more tourists into the towns every year. With newer facilities, national parks will hopefully increase their numbers as they make the parks more accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities.
According to Huffington Post, more than 277,000 jobs are created due to people visiting the parks year after year. About $15.7 billion is made annually from the combined activities of incoming visitors.
Paying more at your national parks’ gates is far more than a strategic move. These entrance fees benefit the wildlife, ecosystem, facilities, visitor experience, local economy, and they provide numerous jobs.
John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club and activist for preserving national parks said, “Keep close to nature’s heart and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” Let’s learn from his wise words and proceed to support our beautiful national parks.