Ryan Zinke: Too Many Americans Are Enjoying National Parks For Free

Screengrab/Washington Post/YouTube

Who gets into national parks for free? Veterans, disabled Americans, senior citizens, and children.

Too many Americans are able to access the country's national parks for free, says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and this must end if the U.S. wishes to address the parks' aging and otherwise declining infrastructure.

Who gets into national parks for free? Veterans, disabled Americans, senior citizens, and children.

"When you give discounted or free passes to elderly, fourth graders, veterans, disabled, and you do it by the carload, there's not a whole lot of people who actually pay at our front door," Zinke said. "So, we're looking at ways to make sure we have more revenue in the front door of our parks themselves."

Zinke assured the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday that he would not impose new fees on veterans, but he did propose raising vehicle fees from at some of the busier national parks, such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion, which currently charge between $20 and $30 per car.

Zinke’s proposal would raise that fee to $70 per car. He is also looking at possibly charging each individual an entrance fee rather than paying per car.

"Basically, one person with a pass, everyone in that car comes in free," Zinke said. "Now, whether or not that's correct, we're looking at it."

The Hill reports that national parks currently face an $11.7 billion maintenance backlog.

Zinke’s proposal, unveiled in October, would raise the rates during the five-month peak season at 17 national parks.

A December poll found that nearly 68 percent of Americans were less likely to visit a national park if the fees increased.

This is about leveraging national parks which are meant for all, for their $ pockets $

When I see large numbers of old people driving around in $200,000 motorhomes that get 7MPG, I've often said that if they can afford to drive those things all over the country, they ought to be able to pay to get into the parks, so we can give young families who are struggling to make ends meet, have free access for their kids.

To all you hillaryites that are attacking President Trump's policies. This country can't afford your policies of giving away everything for free. The article stated that the parks department was way behind in its upkeep. How do you expect to catch that downfall up? This didn't happen on Trump's watch, your liberal leaders did this. Get off of welfare, move out of momma's basement, and support this country, instead of being the leaches you think you have a right to be.

Those of us that pay taxes, pay for those parks, and that assholes salary.

well quit trying to keep all the illegals from all over the world. vet,disabled, senors, and children may have a chance to enjoy America. am 77 and never get to visit any of these places. want be long Americans want be any thing to visit because all you damned moslim,illegals loving assholes are destroying every thing in America.

Yea, charge them a Arm and a Leg to enjoy their own lands and country. The Audacity of Americans wanting to Use their Property must END !

Well, Betty, you should have saved your money. If you had, you’d be able to see some of these parks instead of expecting a handout. Isn’t that the conservative belief? You were probably popping out kids and buying beer with your Welfare handout.

Hey , let’s start by letting our elected officials enjoy the same social security and Medicare retirement as the people they serve instead of the lifelong perks they get .... then let’s cut the corporate tax breaks and billionaire tax breaks that have taken huge chunks out of potential tax revenues (and they still screw us) then, we can go from there. I’d rather fund free parks than corporate welfare

I’m in my 70s and I don’t disagree with you. We have a free pass, but I always make up for the admission by dropping money into the collection box at the visitor center. The national parks always need money. Especially with a Republican administration. But we also don’t have a $200,000, 7mpg gas guzzler. We have a $10,000 pop up trailer with no bathroom and we tow it behind a 4-cylinder Subaru Outback. We aren’t wealthy, but we’re comfortable and can afford the small cost of entry into our NPs. The seniors who can’t afford to pay their way usually can’t afford to travel anyway, IMHO, but I could be wrong there. Disabled vets should get in for free. That’s a no-brainer.

hate much?

I think Betty is just plain wrong. I am 75 and love diversity. The only reason (besides bigotry) that people do not like unamericans is their uneasiness with people that are not Americans. Their anxiety overcomes their common sense and their curosity they had as child to explore the unknown and learn. I feel sorry that our melting pot has been frozen and shattered for many selfish reasons.