The Interior Department is increasing fees at 17 popular national parks, including Glacier and Yellowstone, to $35 per vehicle, backing down from an earlier plan that would have forced visitors to pay $70 per vehicle.
A plan announced today sets a $5 increase across most entrance fees for iconic parks such as Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Mount Rainier and Grand Teton parks, among others. The rates will take effect beginning this June.
Entrance fees at Glacier and Yellowstone will jump from $30 to $35 per vehicle and $15 to $20 per person.
The original plan of $70 per vehicle drew widespread opposition from lawmakers and governors of both parties, who said the higher fees could exclude many Americans from enjoying national parks. The agency received more than 109,000 comments on the plan, most of them opposed.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the fee hikes were needed to help maintain the parks and begin to address an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog.
Increased park attendance has put significant wear and tear on aging park facilities. The park system saw nearly 1.5 billion visits in the last five years.
Zinke said public comments resulted in a, “balanced plan that focuses on more modest increases.”
At least 80 percent of the revenue from the fee increases will stay in the park where it is collected.
More than two-thirds of all national parks will remain free to enter.