The New National Park Fees

As some of you may already know, The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced that on June 1, most seven-day vehicle passes to enter national parks will be increased by five dollars.  Most other fees will stay the same.

It Could Have Been Worse

Back in October, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed the idea of more than doubling peak-season admission at 17 popular parks to $70, and maybe even adding a surge pricing for the top 5 national parks.  The response to that plan was, shall we say,  highly negative.  People took to social media and the internet calling for everything but a revolution.  Some were wise enough to figure out that this was a proposal, an idea to start the conversation.  The Department of Interior was putting it out there to get feedback.

The original public comment period for the new proposal was to only be thirty days, but they needed to extend it to 60 days due to the overwhelming feedback they received. And even after that ended, they still received feedback from people all over the world as well as from Congress and other government bodies.  A lot of people love our national treasures!

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim

After much speculation and uneducated hysteria created by mainstream media and social media groups proclaiming this was a political move byPresidentt trump to gut the National Parks, it was finally announced last week,  that entrance fees at those 117 parks that charge a fee will go up on average of $5.00.

Not bad compared to what it could have been.  It won’t solve the problems generated by all the years of National Park mismanagement and playing political correctness, instead of focusing on their core mission.  But it is a start in the right direction and best of all, it won’t stop people from coming to see America’s greatest idea!

Most National Parks Are Still Free

Remember, we have 417 National Parks, Monuments, and Cultural/historical Centers. Only 117 of them charge an entrance fee. Meaning 2/3 of them are still FREE. 

More good news? The cost of the America The Beautiful Annual Park Pass and the Senior Lifetime Park Pass will stay at $80. Plus, Every Kid in a Park Program is still accepting 4th-grade students to sign up for their FREE annual park pass that gets the entire family into a park for free.

Free Park Pass to 4th Grade Students

Hey fourth graders! See America’s natural wonders and historic sites for free.

Getting The Parks Back in Shape

Starting in 2015, the National Park Services started a campaign to celebrate the NPS’s 100 anniversary in 2016.  To some, it seems like the marketing campaign went exceedingly well. Maybe even too good!  It woke a lot of people up to just what is in our own backyard and crowds started to appear at parks and monuments where there weren’t any before.  This put a strain on an already over worked system and one that was also dealing with major internal crises as well.

The Parks need help. Lots of it. They currently have a backlog of over $11 billion in needed upgrades, repairs and restoration projects to keep everything open and functioning as it should.  The new fee increase will bring in an additional $60 million to the National Park Service with 80% of the fee collected staying at the park it was collected at.

Interior Secretary Zinke is also working closely with Congress on proposed bipartisan legislation to use revenue derived from energy produced on federal lands and waters to establish a special fund within the Treasury specifically for addressing restoration within the national parks. It’s a start!

  • National Park entrance fees to increase an average of $5 on June 1, 2018
  • Only 117 of the 417 National Parks/Monuments/Cultural/Historical Centers charge an entrance fee
  • America The Beautiful annual pass stays at $80
  • Senior lifetime pass stays at $80
  • National Park Passes information

Go Visit a National Park for Free

Go Visit a National Park

On April 21, its National Park Fee Free Day.  All National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone!

Want to go visit a national park near you?  Go to, put in your zip code and a list of National Parks, Monuments, and Historical sites will pop up with maps, directions, and information on what there is to see and do there.

National Parks Near Las Vegas

    • Red Rock National Conservation Area – technically not a national park, but they accept the National Park Pass!
    • Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
    • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
    • Death Valley National Park
    • Zion National Park
    • Bryce Canyon National Park
    • Cedar Breaks National Monument
    • Grand Canyon National Park
    • See the entire list here


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Mark Anthony

Mark Anthony is The Vegas Tourist! Popular Tourism Ambassador, a frequent contributor to Las Vegas forums as well as travel media and bloggers. Loves to help people discover new things to see, do and experience while visiting Las Vegas and Beyond!

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