OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee says that a National Park Service plan to impose steep increases in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks would hurt rural counties in Washington state.
In a letter sent to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Thursday, Inslee noted that Lewis, Clallam and Jefferson Counties see “significant economic activity and benefit” from their proximity to Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks.
Under a plan announced this week, visitors to many national parks would be charged $70 per vehicle during the peak summer season, up from $25 or $30 per vehicle now. Officials say the higher fees are needed to address an $11 billion backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects that have been put off for years.
Inslee says the increase would likely decrease the number of visitors to the parks, and that the cost would put the parks out of reach to lower and middle income families.