Higher entrance fees won’t solve $11 billion maintenance backlog
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced an increase for visitor fees at all national parks:
“Secretary Zinke’s decision to raise all national park entrance fees will barely make a dent in the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog. Instead, this drastic fee hike will make visiting their national parks unaffordable for too many families.
“More than 330 million people visited the national parks last year. Raising the entrance fees will force many of them to stay home now, depriving them a chance to visit their parks and hurting the surrounding communities whose economies depend on tourism.
“At the same time his administration is raising entrance fees, President Trump’s budget would cut almost $472 million from the national parks, far more than approximately $60 million in new funding from this fee increase.
“Instead of raising visitor fees and slashing funding, the Trump administration should support the National Parks Legacy Act. Our bipartisan bill would fix the maintenance backlog by creating a restoration fund from mineral extraction fees already paid by companies that profit off our public lands.
“The national parks belong to the public. They should be open and accessible for all to visit. A fee hike will only shut out more families, allowing only the wealthy few to visit.”