National Park fee increases not as steep as earlier announced

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Interior Department is increasing fees at the most popular national parks to $35 per vehicle, backing down from an earlier plan that would have forced visitors to pay $70 per vehicle to visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and other iconic parks.

A plan announced Thursday would boost fees at 17 popular parks by $5, up from the current $30 but far below the figure Interior proposed last fall.

The plan by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drew widespread opposition from lawmakers and governors of both parties, who said the higher fees could exclude many Americans from enjoying national parks. The agency received more than 109,000 comments on the plan, most of them opposed.

The fee increases apply to Yellowstone, Zion, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Grand Teton parks, among others.

Denali National Park is set to have an annual pass increase by $5 to a $45 charge, the same increase as the per-person entry fee, which is set to increase to $15. The date for that change has not yet been set.

KTUU's Kortnie Horazdovsky contributed to this report.

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