U.S. National Parks Get The Go-Ahead To Raise Entrance Fees

If you're headed to a U.S. national park this fall, be sure to savor the last of the leaf peeping -- and what could be the last of the low admission prices.

The National Park Service has given 131 national parks permission to raise their entrance fees starting in 2015. Per-person prices could jump as much as 50 percent in Yosemite National Park and triple in Olympic National Park, majorly boosting the cost of a parks experience for the first time in about nine years.

The idea? To make U.S. parks their prettiest for the National Parks Service's 100th anniversary in 2016... and to get some new visitors in the gates.

"There continues to be a growing need for funds to improve facilities, infrastructure and visitor services in parks," said April Slayton, chief spokesperson for the National Park Service, in an email to The Huffington Post. "These park improvements will support the effort to bring new audiences to our national parks."

The price hikes aren't definite yet, though. For now, the National Park Service has assigned each park a maximum entrance fee they are allowed to charge if they so choose, says Slayton.

For example, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has permission to change its annual pass fee from $25 to $50, and Crater Lake National Park has permission to boost its per-person fee from $5 to $12, according to the Park Service’s proposed fee schedule.

It's up to each individual park to decide if they'd actually like to raise their fees -- and if so, they'll have to conduct "community outreach," like town hall meetings and email comment campaigns, before the hikes go into effect, Slayton says.

Time points out that even if the price hikes happen, U.S. national parks will still be one of the best vacation bargains out there.

And that is tree-licious news.

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