17 national parks could see fee increases, including Denali

The National Park Service is considering fee increases at 17 parks, including Denali. Higher entry fees would be in effect during peak season, or the busiest five months, starting May 1st.

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An NPS press release announcing the proposal said additional money raised would be used to address aging infrastructure at the popular parks which also include Glacier, Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Denali National Park spokeswoman Katherine Belcher said under the proposal the Denali entry fee would jump threefold.

”The current fees here in Denali are $10 per person,” Belcher said. “Under the new proposal, that would go up to $30 per person.”

Denali season passes would jump from $40 to $75 under the proposal, but a nationwide annual park’s pass would remain $80. Kids are not charged fees, and there are special passes available for seniors and veterans. At Denali, where visitation tops 500,000 people annually, the fee increase could bring in an additional several million dollars a year, money Belcher said would help pay for deferred maintenance.

”At last check, our maintenance backlog was between $51 and $53 million,” Belcher said.

Belcher said 80 percent of fees are retained by individual parks, with the remainder going into a national pool for distribution to parks across the country. Under the proposal, permit fees for tour operators would also be adjusted up at the 17 parks. The National Park Service is taking public comment on the fee increases through November 23rd.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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