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More Expensive National Parks May Threaten Access to Nature

The proposed entrance fee increase could price out minority and low-income Americans, experts warn.

A tourist photographs Grand Teton National Park from a car window.

PHOTOGRAPH BY COREY ARNOLD, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Under a new proposal from the National Park Service, 17 of the most popular U.S. national parks could see entrance fees for weeklong passes increase from around $25 to $30 to $70 for a single private vehicle.

Fees would also increase to $50 per motorcycle and $30 per person on bike or foot. The near doubling in park fees is expected to generate an additional $70 million annually, which the NPS says would pay for the parks’ neglected infrastructure.

Fee increases would go into effect during the five-month season that parks are most visited. The exact duration of these peak seasons vary by park but generally begin in late spring.

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