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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Opposes National Park Fee Increase

Grand canyon interior
Stina Sieg/KJZZ
/
file | staff
Interior of the Grand Canyon.

Last month, the National Park Service proposed a dramatic increase of entrance fees to 17 national parks, including the Grand Canyon. Now, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has joined 10 other AGs from across the country in opposition to the price hike.

In a letter addressed to the acting director of the National Park Service, the attorneys general quote naturalist John Muir who once wrote that people need beauty as well as bread. People may have to choose between the two, the letter says, if park entrance fees are more than doubled to $70 per car during peak months.

“They shouldn’t be the playground just for the wealthy or those that can afford to go,” Brnovich said.  “We need to make it — we need to make sure that any sort of fees or assessments don’t prevent people from being able to afford to go to our national treasures.”

He also said the fee increase could hurt communities in northern Arizona that rely on tourism to the Grand Canyon.

“You know, the National Park Service provided no type of economic analysis or other evidence to show that doubling or even tripling the proposed entrance fees would help with allowing access or with increasing services to visitors and even increasing maintenance,” he said.

The Park Service says the higher prices are needed to address a maintenance backlog — and has extended a public comment period on the issue until Dec. 22.

The public can comment via Park Service’s website.

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Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.