The National Park Service has added 30 days to the public comment period on proposed entrance fee increases that would more than double the cost of visiting Glacier or Yellowstone national parks, among others.
Under the proposal, the price of seven-day passes would rise dramatically from $30 to $70.
"We can not let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy". "All Americans should have access to these lands, especially communities that the service's surveys show have often been underrepresented, including inner city children and Hispanic-American and African-American populations".
A group of 11 attorneys generals are urging the National Park Services to scrap their plan of increasing entrance fess at 17 national parks.
Becerra said the fee increase would greatly impact modest-income families.
The Park Service said it wanted to accommodate interest from Congress and the public.
The controversial proposal would raise fees to as much as $70 per vehicle for 17 national parks, including Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands and Zion national parks here in Utah. Individual entry fees would go up from $15 to $30. "Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the unbelievable destinations they are visiting". They also question the rationale, saying President Donald Trump has proposed reducing the service's overall budget.
According to an NPS press release, the comment period has been extended to December 22, 2017. "For every dollar the punitive fee increase raises from families, the Trump Administration intends to cut more than 4 dollars from the National Park Service's budget", Becerra said in a statement.
NPS's stated justification for the fee increase is to address the serious maintenance backlog facing the national park system. The NPS said it would help pay for a backlog of maintenance for parks.