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National Park Service extends comment period for proposed fee hikes

National Park Service extends comment period for proposed fee hikes

There's more comment time on a proposed fee increase at 17 of the most popular national parks.

Individual entrance fees would go from current cost of 10 USA dollars to 15, even to 30 US dollars, it says.

"Our goal as a nation should be to make our national parks supremely inviting and encourage more families to visit them". "All Americans should have access to these lands, especially communities that the service's surveys show have often been underrepresented, including inner city children and Hispanic-American and African-American populations".

Comments can be submitted on the National Park Service website.

Becerra said the fee increase would greatly impact modest-income families.

The National Park Service will give people an extra month to comment on a proposal to increase park entrance fees. The entrance fees for motorcycles would go from $25 to $50. Individual entrance fees would go from today's cost of $10 to $15, to $30.

California is home to some of the 17 parks slated for the increase, including Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Sequoia & Kings Canyon.

If the fees are approved, the NPS estimates the increase could generate as much as $70 million.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke introduced the proposal on October 24, saying the hike would be a boon to the park service's estimated $11.3 billion deferred-maintenance shortfall. "Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the incredible destinations they are visiting".

Becerra blasted the Trump administration for seeking a fee increase while also proposing in his 2018 budget request a roughly $300 million cut to national parks.

The Service estimated that the proposal would generate an additional 70 million USA dollars a year to help maintain and upgrade park infrastructure.

Petitioners include California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 10 other attorneys general of Arizona, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. While acknowledging the park service's maintenance backlog, the attorneys general said President Donald Trump should turn to Congress for additional funding.

According to an NPS press release, the comment period has been extended to December 22, 2017.

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