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PNS Daily Newscast - November 17, 2017 


The Keystone oil pipeline spills big time in South Dakota; a look at the GOP tax plan and it’s impact on the most vulnerable Americans; and renewed hope for Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters national monument.

Daily Newscasts

Deadline Nears to Oppose Big Entry Fee Increase at National Parks

Public comment on the Trump administration's plan to significantly raise entrance fees to some of the country's most popular national parks ends Nov. 23. (nationalparks.org)
Public comment on the Trump administration's plan to significantly raise entrance fees to some of the country's most popular national parks ends Nov. 23. (nationalparks.org)
November 6, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Many New Mexicans who visit national parks could be priced out next summer.

The U.S. Interior Department is taking comments until Nov. 23 on its proposal to more than double entry fees at 17 of the most popular national parks during the peak season.

The department says a fee increase from $30 to $70 per vehicle would fund overdue park improvements.

Susan Torres, communications director for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, worries that national parks are at risk of becoming playgrounds for the better-off.

"This is a prohibitive amount,” she states. “I think it's a huge increase that will really prevent a lot of, especially low-income, families from getting out onto the pubic lands that belong to them."

The Interior Department's rate increase would fund improved park roads, bridges, campgrounds, restrooms and visitor centers.

The public can comment on the proposed increase at nps.gov.

The boost in entry fees would raise $70 million, but that's less than the $1.5 billion cut to the National Park Service budget proposed by the Trump administration.

Torres cautions the public could pay more without seeing any improvements.

"This fee increase is coming at a time when the administration is proposing a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department budget, so raising the fees really won't help with the maintenance backlog overall," she stresses.

The hike in prices would affect popular parks, including Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone.

Torres says the fee increase means working families earning minimum wage could spend more than a day's pay to get the family into a national park.

"During the previous administration, there was a real push to get more youth into the parks and get more diversity into the parks and get what makes up America and kind of make it more representative of who was visiting the parks, and I don't think we're going to be seeing that push anymore," she points out.

More than 330 million people visited the National Parks during the 100th anniversary in 2016.


Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM