National Parks should not cost money

The cost of admission to our National Parks keeps many out

More stories from Henry Erickson


Photo by Henry Erickson

The cost for one day at Grand Canyon National Park is $30. President Trump is in the act of raising the price.

If you keep up with any current events or are into adventuring in nature, you have likely heard about President Trump’s plan to raise the cost of entry into national parks across the United States. This is absurd.

The increase in entry fee would be during peak season. Joshua Tree National Park in California reported that their prices would increase by over double, from $25 to $70 per car.

I have always wanted to explore and see all the amazing things nature has to offer. One of my favorite ways to do this is by visiting national parks across the U.S. to take in the once-in-a-lifetime views.

My family recently visited Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. The cost for one day at the park was $30 for the entire car. Now this may not seem like much alone, but once you factor in the cost of travel and other necessities, it all adds up very fast.

The entire park is 277 miles of government-owned land. It consists of many rest stops, directory buildings, buses, souvenir buildings and, of course, the Grand Canyon.

The only major cost of running the park is general upkeep. This includes a few things like gas for the bus tours and the water/electric bill. Other than that, the park is basically a cash machine with all the souvenir stations and overpriced food and water.

Because the main attraction of the park is nature made, there really isn’t much upkeep cost to keep the park running. You don’t have to polish the rocks or switch them out every few years after they get old — they will be there forever with no maintenance required. Requiring a payment to enter is a crime.

It may sound like I’m a guy who wants a free ride for everything, but it may help if you look at it this way.

The Grand Canyon, for example, formed around 6 million years ago. People before our time were able to look at it freely and enjoy the beauty and wonder of the land without a price. Nature was free and open to all people.

For some reason, people decided to place a toll building at this place and began charging an entry fee to view what nature created. What was free for everyone to view now becomes a source of profit for some.

Not only is there a cost of entry into the parks, but it seems as though national parks are now used as a marketing tool. At almost every rest stop there is a place trying to sell you souvenirs and other stuff you really don’t need. I don’t like the idea of monetizing nature.

I know we don’t have the right to have everything free in the world, but instead of raising the prices of national parks I think there are other options.

Instead of making payments every time you enter a park, there should be a nationwide offer that allows you entry into all parks with a one-time payment. This is available for people 55 years and older, but it should not be limited to a certain age group.

Seeing Grand Canyon National Park was a very gratifying experience that gave me a fresh perspective on life. My opportunity, as well as others, to visit parks like this would be limited if the cost of entry increased.