DENVER — The National Park Service is floating a steep increase to the entrance fee at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Visitors to the park would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the current $20 fee. The cost of the annual America the Beautiful pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, would remain $80. The proposed hike would also affect 16 other popular parks around the country.
The proposal comes less than two years after many of the parks that charge entrance fees became more costly. The rationale is the same this time around — to address a maintenance backlog and infrastructure projects.
Rocky Mountain National Park had a total of 4.5 million visitors in all of 2016, causing congestion and long lines on some weekends. From late June through September, rangers temporarily restricted traffic on most weekends in popular areas.
The Park Service says it expects to raise $70 million a year with the latest proposal for parks mostly in the West.
The higher fees would apply during the five busiest, contiguous months. For RMNP, that means June through September.
A 30-day public comment period opened Tuesday on the NPS website.