Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in response to the National Park Service’s proposal to increase visitor fees at Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks:
“Our treasured national parks should remain open and accessible to all, regardless of income. The National Park Service desperately needs more funding, but doubling the fees for families won’t put a dent in the $11 billion maintenance backlog. Instead, it will only discourage visitors from traveling to the parks and harm local economies that depend on park tourism.
“Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks all broke attendance records during last year’s centennial celebration with nearly 8.8 million total visitors. Those same visitors could now see their entrance fees more than double to $70 per vehicle. For many American families, that dramatic increase is unaffordable and will prevent them from visiting.
“At the same time, the Trump administration has also proposed slashing NPS’s budget by almost $300 million. The funds generated from raising the entrance fees will barely cover these cuts, let alone address the maintenance backlog.
“Instead of raising visitor fees and cutting funds, we should pass the bipartisan National Parks Legacy Act, which would create a restoration fund from mineral extraction fees already paid by companies that profit off our public lands. Our bill would pay for the maintenance backlog and keep the parks affordable for everyone, and not just the wealthy few.”