The United States Interior Department announced Thursday admission prices for the most popular national parks will increase to $35 per vehicle instead of the originally planned $70 per vehicle.
According to Reuters.com, the new pricing plan will apply to 117 parks across the U.S. and will increase costs for visitors by $5 over the original admission price of $30 per vehicle. The Interior Department abandoned the plan to charge $70 per vehicle at 17 of the most heavily visited parks during peak-season.
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The additional fee would help the government finance the $11.6 billion backlog of maintenance and improvements, but it was still met by backlash from visitors. By avoiding the $70 charge, Interior Department appeased most of the people complaining.
While the new price structure will take effect June 1, government officials said more than two-thirds of national parks will remain free to enter. Federal regulations state 80 percent of the revenue generated at a national park must be used where it’s collected.
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The original change proposed by the National Park Service in October would have increased the price to $70 per vehicle at some of the most popular national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Shenandoah.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in October. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting.”
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