Park Service Plans Higher Fees at a Third of the Parks Through 2009

By John Heilprin
Associated Press
Sunday, May 6, 2007; 9:38 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Entrance fees are due to rise at many national parks over the next three summers, though a public outcry over specific increases could cause the government to reconsider.

A few increases have already taken effect.

Through 2009, the National Park Service plans to phase in higher rates for annual park passes and fees paid per vehicle or person at about 130 of the 390 parks, monuments and other areas the agency manages.

The government does not collect any fees at the other two-thirds of sites in the park system.

The Park Service, which has planned the increases for some time, did not publicize the higher fees through its headquarters in Washington, leaving that job to site managers, agency spokesman David Barna said Sunday.

The intention was to let affected communities absorb the news and see if they would go along with the increases. Park superintendents can recommend that the agency director, Mary Bomar, rescind the increases if enough people protest. One such place where there has been an outcry is at Yosemite in California, which is in line for an increase in 2008.

By this summer, higher entrance fees will be in effect at 11 parks:

-- Muir Woods in California.

-- Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Mesa Verde, both in Colorado.

-- Fort McHenry in Maryland.

-- Martin Van Buren in New York.

-- Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains, both in Texas.

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