When Americans woke up this morning (June 1), they discovered it would cost them a lot more to enter their national parks.
Nearly all the major parks hiked their entry rates by a hefty $5.
Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands (pictured), Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion—all of them, and many more, saw their prices jump $5, regardless of whether it's for a vehicle or for a single person.
Tumacácori National Monument in Arizona saw its entry fee go from $20 to $30—a 50% price hike overnight. In 2020, the price will rise again to $35.
For a complete list of the price hikes—and there are dozens of affected units—see the rudimentary page that the National Park Service posted overnight to benefit from the upcoming summer travel rush.
The national park system was established to preserve national treasures and make them available to all citizens no matter their income. How did America get in the position of making supposedly public lands something prohibitively expensive to visit for many citizens?
This Men's Journal article outlines some of the backroom deals, defunding debacles, and backstabbing lobbyists who have had a hand in stripping "America's Best Idea" of resources and treating them like businesses instead of preserves. There's currently an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog at the American national parks, and entrance fees brought in $199 million in 2018. By hiking rates this much, only $60 million is projected to be generated.
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