All Politics is Local

Sen. Cantwell to Zinke: Withdraw park fee increase proposal

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has renewed her battle with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Cantwell has previously criticized Zinke for neglecting to approve an offshore drilling exemption for Washington’s coast, as well as reducing national monuments and increasing park entrance fees.

On Thursday, she sent Zinke yet another letter. Her letter asks Zinke to withdraw his proposal to increase entrance fees for national parks.

“I urge you to withdraw the proposed fee increases immediately and begin a transparent, public process that takes into account public input and fully analyzes the impact on park visitation and local park economies before seeking to impose any other fee increases,” she writes.

The proposal would increase many fees two or three times the current price. The vehicle entrance fee, for example, would increase from $25 to $70 during peak visitation months at Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks.

“The National Park Service described the fee increases ‘as part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience …,’” she continues. “I am unable to see how doubling or tripling a park entrance fee is anything other than an effort to exclude many Americans from enjoying their national parks.”

Read the letter in full here.

Katy Sword

I cover the city of Vancouver and federal politics. Reach me at katy.sword@columbian.com.

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