Editorial: Since Congress keeps refusing to step up, park users should pay more
When the Interior Department recently announced that it wanted to raise peak-season entry fees at 17 popular national parks to $70 per vehicle, some took it as an affront to the democratic notion that public lands are for everyone. The Outdoor Industry Association noted its concern that the “move could leave some visitors priced out of the parks.” It also took the opportunity to call for Congress to simply set aside more money for “outdoor recreation infrastructure like our parks and other public lands.”
So far that strategy hasn’t worked. Overdue maintenance projects facing federal land agencies amount to more than $11 billion for national parks and $5 billion for national forests. Yet legislators continue to allocate enough funds to cover only a mere fraction of that maintenance.