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Yosemite spared '08 fee increase

June 22, 2007|Alison Williams | Times Staff Writer

Yosemite National Park has escaped a nationwide increase in national park fees.

On Jan. 1, entrance fees to parks nationwide will jump, some to $25. But last week, the director of the National Park Service issued a waiver to Yosemite, allowing the park to leave its fee at $20 until at least 2009. This fee allows a carload of people to enter the park for one week.

Scott Gediman, a spokesman for the park, said that when the park solicited public comment about the proposed fee increase earlier this year, "we heard overwhelmingly that people were opposed to it."

The park then requested a waiver based on the comments and on concerns that a fee increase would accelerate declining visitation.

Yosemite has suffered several setbacks over the last decade that have affected tourism, including a 1997 flood that destroyed campsites, damaged hotel rooms and closed roads.

A massive rockslide in 2006 closed California 140, a main entrance road, for several months. Today, the road is passable, but there are delays and a detour. It won't completely reopen for three years, said Ken Gosting, executive director of Transportation Involves Everyone, which studies the relationship of visitation to transportation in the Sierra. The park last raised entry fees 10 years ago.

alison.williams@latimes.com

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