The National Park Service is looking to more than double the ticket price of over a dozen national parks, at the same time that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing we open up national land to oil drillers.
As Donald Trump and his Cabinet move full steam ahead with a far right agenda to demolish important government services, the Department of the Interior under Ryan Zinke has been leading the charge.
On Tuesday evening, according to CNN, the National Park Service announced a proposed major change to ticket prices that would hit working families especially hard, hiking up the entrance fee per vehicle from $25 to $70 during peak season. Fees would also be raised for those entering on motorcycle, bicycle, or on foot.
The proposal affects 17 different national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. The result would be that many working families — who rely on national parks for inexpensive family vacations — would have a harder time affording entry.
Zinke and NPS officials say these proposals are necessary because the agency is cash-strapped and needs money for upkeep and renovation of the parks. This is a tone deaf argument, given that Zinke recently charged taxpayers $12,000 to fly on a private jet owned by an oil company.
It also makes no sense to make working people pay these costs at the same time Republicans are pushing a tax scheme that would blow up the deficit by $1.5 trillion and preserve millionaires’ tax breaks for yachts.
Furthermore, while Zinke seems unconcerned about American families being shut out of federal protected land, he believes oil and gas companies should be welcome.
Earlier this year, Zinke advised Trump to shrink four outdoor national monuments, including Bears Ears in Utah — home to 100,000 sacred archaeological Native American sights. The proposal would open parts of the monuments to oil drilling, fracking, and mining.
Land under the National Park Service belongs to all people. All of the Trump administration’s proposals for protected land would skew in favor of the privileged individuals and rich corporations seeking to exploit it.