Phoenix, Arizona - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced yesterday that he is part of bipartisan coalition of 11 attorneys general expressing strong opposition to the National Park Service's ("NPS") proposal to dramatically increase entrance fees at 17 national parks.
Under the proposal, the per vehicle entrance fee would increase at the 17 parks during the five-month peak season from $25 or $30 to $70, including the Grand Canyon. Motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian fees would also increase by double or more at the 17 parks. The new fees would go into effect at the Grand Canyon beginning May 1, 2018.
"Our parks belong to all Americans, who should be able to afford and enjoy them with their families for generations to come," said Attorney General Brnovich. "We have a responsibility to fund our national parks and address the maintenance backlog, but we have to preserve our national treasures in a way that doesn't limit access and potentially destroy local economies."
In the comment to the NPS, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined his fellow attorneys general in making three main points:
- NPS' stated justification for the fee increase is to address the serious maintenance backlog facing the national park system. However, the proposal could reduce revenue by lowering visitation rates.
- NPS has failed to consider or provide any data to support the criteria it must consider pursuant to the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004, including the "aggregate effect of recreation fees on recreation users" or "the public policy or management objectives served by the recreation fee."
- NPS' process fails to provide adequate opportunity for local outreach or public comment.
Joining Attorney General Brnovich in sending today's comment letter were Attorneys General of California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
The proposed peak season rate increases, which would double or even triple certain entrance fees, would take affect at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks on May 1, 2018. New season rates would go into effect at Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks on June 1, 2018, while Joshua Tree National Park would see its new fees in place “as soon as practicable in 2018.”