Ryan Zinke: Too Many Americans Are Enjoying National Parks For Free

Screengrab/Washington Post/YouTube

Who gets into national parks for free? Veterans, disabled Americans, senior citizens, and children.

Too many Americans are able to access the country's national parks for free, says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and this must end if the U.S. wishes to address the parks' aging and otherwise declining infrastructure.

Who gets into national parks for free? Veterans, disabled Americans, senior citizens, and children.

"When you give discounted or free passes to elderly, fourth graders, veterans, disabled, and you do it by the carload, there's not a whole lot of people who actually pay at our front door," Zinke said. "So, we're looking at ways to make sure we have more revenue in the front door of our parks themselves."

Zinke assured the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday that he would not impose new fees on veterans, but he did propose raising vehicle fees from at some of the busier national parks, such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion, which currently charge between $20 and $30 per car.

Zinke’s proposal would raise that fee to $70 per car. He is also looking at possibly charging each individual an entrance fee rather than paying per car.

"Basically, one person with a pass, everyone in that car comes in free," Zinke said. "Now, whether or not that's correct, we're looking at it."

The Hill reports that national parks currently face an $11.7 billion maintenance backlog.

Zinke’s proposal, unveiled in October, would raise the rates during the five-month peak season at 17 national parks.

A December poll found that nearly 68 percent of Americans were less likely to visit a national park if the fees increased.

Comments (11)
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DoctorAmmo
DoctorAmmo

When I see large numbers of old people driving around in $200,000 motorhomes that get 7MPG, I've often said that if they can afford to drive those things all over the country, they ought to be able to pay to get into the parks, so we can give young families who are struggling to make ends meet, have free access for their kids.

Davesg
Davesg

To all you hillaryites that are attacking President Trump's policies. This country can't afford your policies of giving away everything for free. The article stated that the parks department was way behind in its upkeep. How do you expect to catch that downfall up? This didn't happen on Trump's watch, your liberal leaders did this. Get off of welfare, move out of momma's basement, and support this country, instead of being the leaches you think you have a right to be.

BETTY
BETTY

well quit trying to keep all the illegals from all over the world. vet,disabled, senors, and children may have a chance to enjoy America. am 77 and never get to visit any of these places. want be long Americans want be any thing to visit because all you damned moslim,illegals loving assholes are destroying every thing in America.

Jim Berquist
Jim Berquist

Yea, charge them a Arm and a Leg to enjoy their own lands and country. The Audacity of Americans wanting to Use their Property must END !