April 12, 2018

Udall Statement on Interior Department Decision to Raise National Park Visitor Fees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, released the following statement on the Department of the Interior’s announcement that it will raise visitor fees at national parks across the country:

“Reasonable, periodic increases to entrance fees can be necessary, but I’m not convinced this is the right move for our national parks, which really are ‘America’s best idea.’ On the one hand, Secretary Zinke says he needs to raise fees to reduce the maintenance backlog at our parks, but on the other, he endorses the president’s proposals to cut funding for parks and royalty relief for big businesses that make money off of our public lands. Reducing the maintenance backlog will require thoughtful and realistic budgets and support from both parties and the administration. This fee increase just makes visiting our nation’s most spectacular landscapes and important cultural sites harder on working families.

“This decision is part of a pattern for Secretary Zinke’s Interior Department – there appears to be no local engagement, no detailed analysis, and no clear rationale for why these particular changes are needed now. I will be asking Secretary Zinke to provide a much more detailed explanation of his decision in writing.”