Resigning NPS board member on proposed price hike

The looming federal government shutdown could ruin some vacation plans for Americans hoping to enjoy national parks and monuments this weekend. If Congress fails to pass a spending bill that hits President Trump’s desk by midnight Friday, all the national parks would be shuttered.

Republicans carried a fair share of the blame for ruining family trips to the Grand Canyon or Yosemite during the last two government shutdowns. Both times, in 1995 and 2013, the GOP controlled Congress. But there are reports that the Trump administration is working on plans to keep hundreds of national parks open even in the face of a government shutdown.

Regardless of the parks’ short-term availability, 17 of the most popular national parks could soon become an unaffordable luxury to lower-income Americans if the National Park Service (NPS) implements a pricing system that would raise admission from around $30 per vehicle to $70 per vehicle during peak season. Other proposed fees include $50 per motorcycle, $30 for a person on bike or foot and $75 for an annual pass to a specific park.

NPS spokesperson Kathy Kupper explained that each of the 17 parks currently has its own entry fee but that they would all have a uniform price if the proposal is implemented.

“It’s between $25 and $30 to get into any of those parks, and that’s good for a whole car of people for a week,” Kupper told Yahoo News. “Regardless of what the price is now, if it were to be implemented it would be $70.”

Visitors at an outlook on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. (Photo: Felicia Fonseca/AP)

Other, less-visited parks would have varying fees, as they do now. Many are free.

The bipartisan NPS Advisory Board, made up of citizens with science and management expertise, was not consulted before these changes were proposed under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in October. In fact, the board, which was established in the 1930s to advise the interior secretary and the NPS director under the…

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