The National Park Service, saying it needs the money for infrastructure maintenance, is planning a price hike that could put parks out of reach of many families and individuals.
At the new rates, the per vehicle charge will jump from $25 to $70; motorcycles will be charged $50, and individual hikers or bicyclists will see a jump from $15 to $30 per day.
The hikes, which will apply to the 5 busiest consecutive months in each affected park, will apply to the 118 parks currently charging admission. The rest will remain free. The first round of hikes will take effect in May, under Park Service plans. Among the parks in the first round are some of the biggest and most popular, including Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone, Glacier and Zion.
Admission will still be free for those under 16, the Every Kid in a Park program and for holders of Senior Passes. However, the lifetime Senior Pass for those over 62 has now jumped from $10 to $80. A one-year senior pass at $20 will also be available.
There is a comment period for public response to the proposals, open until November 23 on the NPS website. There's no word on when, after that, a decision will be announced. If approved, the NPS expects to take in $70 million more a year on top of the $200 million paid last year.