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Zinke backs off plan to impose steep national park fee increases

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke listens to a question during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifes at a Senate heairng. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has backed off from the administration’s plan to enact steep increases to entrance fees for some national parks. Instead, his agency said Thursday it will only impose a $5 increase rather than the $40 proposed last year.

The backstory: The Department of the Interior had said the steep price hike for National Park visitors during "peak visitor seasons" was intended to raise money for maintenance and infrastructure improvement projects. This proposed increases had triggered backlash from Democrats and environmentalists amid concerns over the financial impact on families.