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Price hikes at the Grand Canyon and 16 other national parks would make them inaccessible for many American families, critics say. (Photo: screaming_monkey/Flickr/cc)

While Trump Opens National Parks to Fossil Fuel Drilling, Fee Hikes Would Lock Out Vacationing Families

"While Republican leadership looks to slash taxes for billionaires, price hikes at our National Parks will hurt working Americans."

Julia Conley

The National Parks, heralded by one former director as containing "the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health," may soon be off-limits to many working American families due to price hikes that were proposed on Wednesday by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Citing the need to address maintenance and infrastructure concerns, the National Park Service said it wants to raise rates for vehicle passes from $25-30 to $70 during the busiest months of the year at some of the country's most popular parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone.

The price increases, which are subject to a public comment period open until November 23, follows the Trump administration's push to redraw the boundaries of several national monuments in the interest of those who Zinke said "rely on these lands for hunting and fishing, economic development, traditional uses, and recreation."

The changes are likely to impact many vacationing families as they would be imposed between May and September. Seventeen of the nation's parks would be affected by the rate hikes.

Ben Schreiber, Senior Political Strategist for Friends of the Earth, denounced the proposal, saying it exemplified the administration's antagonostic attitude towards working families and its commitment to serving corporate interests.

"The Trump administration is turning our National Parks into an exclusive playground for the rich," Schreiber said. "Secretary Zinke has given our public lands to oil companies, slashed budgets, and attacked the regulations that ensure taxpayers receive a fair price for their natural resource."

As Schreiber added, the news that the NPS's infrastructure projects apparently depend on increased fees for citizens comes as the Republican Party pushes a tax plan that would leave the federal budget with a $5 trillion hole over the next decade, largely via tax cuts for the wealthy.

"While Republican leadership looks to slash taxes for billionaires, price hikes at our National Parks will hurt working Americans," Schreiber said. "This is just the first of the inevitable new fees that will be pushed onto working Americans. We should help give breaks to families who want to go on vacation, not companies who want to drill."


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Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

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