Utah national parks increase park fees to ramp up maintenance

Jamison Metzger
A hiker pauses to enjoy the scenery in the Narrows at Zion National Park. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks prices will increase effective July 1. (Universe Photo)
Two of Utah’s national parks and a national monument are raising entrance fees for the first time since 2007. The price increases will go toward maintenance and improvement projects within the parks.
Starting July 1, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park will require an additional $5 per vehicle fee and an extra $3 per person to enter the parks. Cedar Breaks National Monument has already increased its per-person entry from $4 to $5.
The parks began to consider the increases last year as part of a new effort to maintain the parks’ amenities and to provide better services.
Representatives from three parks attended public meetings to gauge public acceptance of fee increases. “During the public comment period, very few of the comments were negative,” Cedar Breaks Superintendent Paul Roelandt said in a press release. “Visitors and local community members alike seemed to understand the need for additional funding to help with deferred maintenance projects in the parks.”
More people visiting the park has caused the need for higher fees.
Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent Lisa Eckert said the increase in park fees would only be used to facilitate park improvements.
Kathleen Gonder, chief of interpretation and public information officer for Bryce Canyon National Park, shared what the funds will do. “The fees collected directly enhance visitor services, programs, road maintenance, and campgrounds, among many other projects,” she said. “We are always in the process to upgrade, but the increase in fees is to help us really get that work done.”
BYU student Stephan Trone, a sales associate at Outdoors Unlimited, frequently visits Utah national parks and is concerned that the fee increases might deter some from enjoying the parks. “I definitely think that fee increases might keep some people away from the parks. I don’t see myself going there as often as I do now,” Trone said. “I would rather go to another area that isn’t controlled by National Parks Services that I can enjoy for less.”
2017 UPDATE: The National Parks Service is currently proposing a hike in Utah National Parks entrance fees. This increase would take the price of admission for one vehicle to $70 rather than the current price of $30 for Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, or $25 for Arches and Canyonlands. It would go into effect starting in 2018 and would apply May through September.
The proposed admission hike would also increase fees for motorcycles and vehicle passengers.
According to the National Park Service, this new admissions price hike is “part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience” and ” generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks.”
At this time, the National Parks Service is inviting the public to comment on the proposal. To voice an opinion on the proposed plan, visit the National Park Service’s fee rate proposal page and comment through November 2017.
According to the proposal, the price of the National Parks Service’s $80 annual pass would not be affected.
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