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Interior backing away from steep fee hikes at national parks

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Spectators gaze at El Capitan for a glimpse of climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, as seen from the valley floor in Yosemite National Park, Calif., in 2015. The Interior Department is backing down from a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks after widespread opposition from elected officials and the public.

WASHINGTON >> The Interior Department is backing down from a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks in the face of widespread opposition from elected officials and the public.

The plan would nearly triple entrance fees at 17 of the nation’s most popular parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion, forcing visitors to pay $70 per vehicle during the peak summer season.

While plans are still being finalized, a spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says officials have “taken the public’s suggestions seriously and have amended the plan to reflect those” comments.

Spokeswoman Heather Swift said today that Zinke “remains laser-focused on rebuilding our park infrastructure” and addressing an $11 billion maintenance backlog in the parks.

The Washington Post first reported Interior’s reconsideration of the fee hike.

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