Park Fee Increase Could Cost MT Communities Millions, Study Finds
A new study claims that a proposal by the Department of the Interior to hike the entry pass at national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone from 30 dollars to 70 dollars will cost nearby communities millions. Economist Jeremy Sage from the UM’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research used past travel data and National Park reports to reach the conclusion.
"What they consider local is any county within 60 miles of the park boundary, if you thought of one around around glacier, that would include Kalispell, so for Yellowstone 525 million in contribution in 2016 we estimated that, all else being equal, that would be a 3.4 million dollar loss for those communities,." Sage said.
Sage says the biggest impacts will likely be from those closest to the parks.
"If you think about it, if you're travelling locally, it's just a day trip you're mostly paying for fuel, so that 40$ increase is a 38 percent cost increase overall in travel costs, so it hits them the biggest, the next group would be the non-local visitors that are also form the U.S. or Canada, we saw that they would have a 10 percent increase overall.
The increase in park fees is expected to help update the backlog of facility maintenance at the big National Parks. Those updates may help bring more tourism, but Sage says that is a long term prospect.