NPS Proposal Includes Drastic Fee Increase for Motorcoaches

The National Park Service (NPS) unveiled a proposal last week that would considerably increase the fees charged to a variety of visitors to select national parks during peak season, including individuals and motorcoach tours. According to a statement by NPS, the primary purpose of this price increase is to generate revenue to help address the maintenance backlog, which is estimated to be upwards of $12 billion.

NPS manages all national parks, many national monuments and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.

The majority of the 59 national parks will remain free to enter, and the current proposal will only impact the fees and commercial use authorizations at the following 17 parks:

  • Arches (May – Sept. peak);
  • Bryce Canyon (May – Sept. peak);
  • Canyonlands (May – Sept. peak);
  • Denali (May – Sept. peak);
  • Glacier (May – Sept. peak);
  • Grand Canyon (May – Sept. peak);
  • Grand Teton (May – Sept. peak);
  • Olympic (May – Sept. peak);
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon (May – Sept. peak);
  • Yellowstone (May – Sept. peak);
  • Yosemite (May – Sept. peak);
  • Zion (May – Sept. peak);
  • Acadia (June – Oct. peak);
  • Mount Rainier (June – Oct. peak);
  • Rocky Mountain (June – Oct. peak);
  • Shenandoah (June – Oct. peak);
  • Joshua Tree (Jan. – May peak)

Of primary interest to ABA and the motorocoach, tour and travel industry, the NPS is proposing entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators using motorcoaches. The proposal would increase the entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours (e.g. motorcoaches), including application and management fees across the parks.

The proposed motorcoach fees for peak season would jump from $300 per bus in some locations to upwards of $1200.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, all parks will charge commercial tour fees made up of three components: the CUA application fee, a CUA management fee and an entrance fee. Click here to view the commercial tour proposal.

The application fee will be an annual fee of $300 per year, some parks will grant a two-year application fee.

The management fee is essentially a $5 per passenger fee. This fee is to be paid on an annual basis and will also require the filling of an annual report to the NPS. Click here to view a copy of the required annual report.

The entrance fee is where the most drastic change will be. Beginning May 1, 2019 all parks that have a vehicle entrance rate must charge the commercial tour entrance fees based upon the table below. Parks that have a per person entrance rate only will charge the per person fee.

Entrance Group

Description

1

National historic sites, national military parks, national battlefields, national battlefield parks, national memorials or shrines, national preserves, parkways

2

National seashores, national recreation areas, national

monuments, national lakeshores, national historical parks

3

National Parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Denali, Acadia, Shenandoah, Joshua Tree
 

4

National Parks: Bryce Canyon, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion.

Entrance Group

Sedan Rate (1-6)

Van (7-15)

Mini Bus (16-25)

Motorcoach (26-56)

Motorcoach (57+)

1

$40

$60

$110

$150

$220

2

$50

$85

$160

$225

$325

3

$60

$110

$190

$300

$450

4

$80

$185

$300

$450

$600

For the peak seasons, the entrance rates will increase to the following:

Entrance Group

Sedan Rate (1-6)

Van (7-15)

Mini Bus (16-25)

Motorcoach (26-56)

Motorcoach (57+)

3

$160

$370

$600

$900

$1200

4

$160

$370

$600

$900

$1200

For each park, the peak season is based on the 5 contiguous months when they receive their highest annual visitation, which will vary depending on the park. Based on NPS statistics, the 5-month peak-season could encompass May 1 through Sept. 30, June 1 through Oct. 31, or Jan. 1 through May 31.

Additional information and a forum for public comments regarding commercial permit requirements and fees is available October 24, 2017 to November 23, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Written comments can be sent to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346.

ABA has formed a coalition with other industry organizations to speak with one voice, to express our concerns and develop reasonable solutions.

In order to understand the affect of this proposal on the industry, we ask that you participate in this short survey about your company's use of these parks. Please feel free to contact ABA with any comments on the proposal. Please email or call (202) 218-7227 with your questions or comments.

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.

Contact

Melanie Hinton, Director of Communications & Media Relations, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)