National Parks across America try to keep their prices as low as possible, and while prices have managed to stay the same for the last eight years, financial issues have made it necessary for the United States government to allow parks to increase their entrance and amenity fees. If you’re planning on visiting one of America’s great national parks, it may be a good idea to start packing up your camping supplies, because as soon as summer of 2015, prices may start increasing. Not only could your admission to the Grand Canyon cost a little more, but that Grand Canyon tour you have lined up could to – but don’t worry, the price changes are necessary and often very small.
The process of increasing prices isn’t as simple as replacing price-of-admission signs, either, in a system that discourages or even prevents parks from raising their prices if they don’t need to. Parks have to involve their communities in the price-raising decision, all the while detailing how the new funds will be appropriated, which prices will be raised, and how it will benefit the community as a whole. The price increases can only be obtained in set increments, and all changes must be approved by park service headquarters. Proposals to raise prices will be due by March 15th of 2015.
You may have noticed that not all parks even charge admission, and as a matter of fact, the vast majority of them don’t. While some of America’s most famous parks do charge admission, only 133 of the total 401 national parks charge an entrance fee, and you don’t need to worry about that changing. While this new policy will allow parks to charge more, it doesn’t address the need for currently-free parks to start charging admission.
One park that’s already released its proposal is Yosemite National park, which will be celebrating its 125th year as a national park in 2015. Officials at the historic park want to raise weekly entrance passes from $20 to $30, and while that may not seem like a catastrophic increase to visitors, it will be a massive help to those working to maintain, preserve, and manage the park. Camping fees will also see an increase if this policy is approved from their current range of $5 to $20 per night to a slightly higher range of $6 to $24 for family camp sites. The cost of group sites would increase from $40 to $48 per night.
National park passes will remain the same for adventurers who prefer annual passes. Annual admission will still be $80, lifetime senior passes are still $10, and admission is still free for veterans and the disabled, making it easy for those with limited opportunities to visit some of the world’s most beautiful places.
Other parks will be proposing price increases similar to those being considered by Yosemite, so if you’re planning a vacation, tuck away an extra $20 or so just in case. Are you planning a trip to one of America’s great national parks? Maybe even a Grand Canyon vacation? Share your dream getaway with us in the comments section below!