National Parks to Increase Prices to Fund Delayed Projects

The Grand Canyon’s price of admission may be about to have a few dollars added on in the wake of a recent leniency by the federal government. To address issues of underfunding and a backlog of projects, parks all across America may be increasing their fees, but park visitors shouldn’t be too worried about Grand Canyon National Park.

Before we talk specifically about Grand Canyon Park, however, the policy itself must be considered. The proposal to allow parks to increase their prices is currently seeking public comment, and if it is allowed to pass, it will effect 115 of the 401 national parks in America. The policy will not allow parks to begin charging new fees, which means that free national parks will remain free, but 115 of the 130 national parks that are currently charging admission will be allowed to raise their prices. The increases must be carefully approved, and there is a strict limit to how high prices can go.

Not only will this benefit paid admission parks and services like Grand Canyon tours, but it will also benefit parks that charge no admission due to how revenue is split between parks. The 130 national parks that charge admission are allowed to keep 80% of their earning, while the other 20% goes to the upkeep of free parks. All funds raised by increasing admission prices will go to improving the quality of America’s parks, providing the funding needed to pay for crucial upgrades, long-delayed projects, and needed improvements to amenities, infrastructure, and more.

Luckily for visitors to the Grand Canyon Park, a small price increase can make a world of difference. A seven day pass for a vehicle costs $25, and the cost would be increased to only $30 if this policy is adopted. That’s still a fantastic price, and won’t change the plans of many park-goers, but if you multiply that $5 increase by the millions of visitors that come to the Grand Canyon every year, and you can see the effect it can have. The most extreme fee increase can be attributed to purchasing an annual pass to the Grand Canyon itself. You can pay $60, up from $50, for a year’s worth of visits, but an annual pass to all of America’s national parks will still cost only $80. Amenities like Grand Canyon lodging will be unaffected.

This policy has both supporters and stern opponents, and both sides have 60 days to voice their opinions starting November 7th of 2014. Many parks have pledged to maintain their prices in the event of substantial public outcry. Opponents to the cause fear that increased prices will dissuade younger visitors from experiencing what many consider one of the most incredible facets of American geography and culture while supporters simply point to how much America’s national parks could accomplish with the extra funding this policy would allow.

How do you feel about the price increases? Do you can an idea that might bring some revenue to America’s national parks without raising the price of admission? Let us know in the comments!