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National Park Fee Hike Will Hurt Gateway Communities, Study Says

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

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.

The Park Service says it expects the fees to generate $69 million over 2016 revenues.

The study says that Yellowstone National Park gateway communities can expect to see an estimated loss of $3.4 million in spending in Yellowstone’s gateway communities as a result of higher park entrance fees.

UM’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research says it expects reduced tourist revenues in gateway communities for other national parks as well.

The full report, “Thinking Outside the Park – National Park Fee Increase Effects on Gateway Communities,” is available here: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/itrr_pubs/362

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