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national parks

Toll Of Government Shutdown Still Being Tallied At National Parks

Jan 30, 2019
Visitors to Yellowstone National Park explore the boardwalks near Old Faithful.
Courtesy National Park Service

Update: The original story, published Jan. 30, was updated on Jan. 31, with an additional statement from Sen. Steve Daine's office.

WEST YELLOWSTONE — Federal employees have returned to work at public lands throughout the nation, but the cost of keeping national parks open during the record-length partial government shutdown remains unknown.

Nicky Ouellet

When Anson Nygaard returned to the states after two years of active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he headed straight for the Pacific Crest Trail.

Yellowstone Park's east entrance.
Diane Renkin-NPS (PD)

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.

Glacier National Park Entrance At St. Mary
Glacier NPS

The Park Service is sitting on an $11 billion repair backlog. Crumbling roads account for about half of those deferred expenses. Tennessee Republican Senator, Lamar Alexander, is lead sponsor of a new bill to increase park infrastructure funding using revenue from energy production on federal lands and offshore drilling. 

Yellowstone National Park's east entrance.
Diane Renkin, National Park Service

A proposed national park fee increase from $30 to $70 for a seven-day pass likely will negatively affect the gateway communities near the parks, according to a new study by the University of Montana.

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently announced its plan to increase fees in 17 of the most-visited national parks in response to a nearly $12 billion backlog due to deferred maintenance. Yellowstone and Glacier parks are on the list for the fee increase.

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