IT’S NO SECRET that it’s been a contentious year regarding our national parks system, not the least of which included discussions surrounding funding—or rather, underfunding.
The current maintenance backlog rings in at a cost of about $12 billion and, to close the gap, the Department of the Interior had proposed a $50 increase to daily visitor fees. That sparked public outrage and was dropped, but fees have increased in 66 out of 417 parks, with more to come (although 2/3 of national parks remain free to the public).
As of June 1, Rocky Mountain National Park’s fees will increase by $5 daily, with annual passes increasing from $60 to $70. The fee increases are only one component to generate revenue—the proposed Public Lands Infrastructure Fund would generate money for parks through oil drilling revenues and sell-offs of public park system land, and proposed budget cuts to the Department of the Interior would reduce interior construction programs, land acquisition and historic preservation programs.
Want to support RMNP? Visit. Your pass fees go toward much-needed maintenance. Or get involved—the National Parks Conservation Association (npca.org) is a nonpartisan advocacy group committed to the preservation of our parks, and encourages citizens to share their travel stories, attend events, donate and organize on behalf of our parks.
If you have a fourth-grade student, the Every Kid in a Park program allows for free family
entry to all national parks for the year; visit everykidinapark.gov to download a pass.