It’s totally understandable if your summers revolve around trips to national parks: There are tons of naturally gorgeous places in the United States where you can hike, do water sports, or simply enjoy being free of your work and digital responsibilities. But this summer, you might need to add a few extra bucks to your travel fund: The entrance fees for 117 of the national natural hot spots are increasing.
Starting June 1, the cost of most seven-day vehicle passes will increase by $5, individual person passes will increase by $3 to $5, and annual passes will increase by $5 to $10.
While entry to more than two-thirds of the United States’ 417 national parks will still be free, the National Park Service (NPS) just announced that starting June 1, 2018, the cost of most seven-day vehicle passes will increase by $5, individual person passes will increase by $3 to $5, and annual passes will increase by $5 to $10. (The price ranges account for the four types of fees based on park size and type.)
But the rising prices aren’t designed to break the bank, and they’re actually hiking up for good reason: Since the number of people visiting the parks is at a record high (there have been 1.5 billion visits in the past five years!), the funds will be used for “projects and activities to improve the experience for visitors who continue to visit parks at unprecedented levels.”
“Every dollar spent to rebuild our parks will help bolster the gateway communities that rely on park visitation for economic vitality,” says US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Not all visitors to our parks have the ability to hike with a 30-pound pack and camp in the wilderness miles away from utilities. In order for families with young kids, elderly grandparents, or persons with disabilities to enjoy the parks, we need to rebuild basic infrastructure like roads, trails, lodges, restrooms, and visitors centers.”
So keep your summer plans in place, but make sure you put away just a few extra bucks (skipping a few days of buying that fancy coffee should keep you in the green). You’ll be glamping in Glacier National Park and chasing waterfalls in Yellowstone before you know it.
Find out the top 10 under-the-radar world locations to add to your bucket list. Or, visit one of these five secluded tree houses on Airbnb for a restorative getaway.
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