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Public Comment Period Extended For National Parks Fee Hikes

The Department of the Interior is proposing to double the price of admission to nearly 20 of the most popular national parks.

The public commenting period had been slated to end Thanksgiving Day, but it’s been pushed back.

After receiving more than 65,000 public comments on the proposal, the deadline to voice concerns about fee increases on the National Park Service website has been extended to Dec. 22.

Emily Douce, spokesperson for the National Parks Conservation Association, says past increases were minimal, and officials held two years of public meetings.

"For the Trump administration to come out with an annual budget proposal to Congress and it having a 13 percent cut to our national parks, and then turn around and ask the people to pay more money to get into their national parks, is troubling," Douce said.

The Trump administration said the proposed fee hik eis the best way to make progress on the $11.3 billion in deferred maintenance at the parks.

However, the fee increase will raise about $70 million a year, which Douce said isn't even enough to keep the backlog of repairs from growing.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.