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Highlights

GAO conducted a review to estimate National Park System entrance fees using the criteria in the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, as amended, to determine whether it was appropriate for Congress to reconsider its fee moratorium.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status
Congress should repeal section 402 of Public Law 96-87, which froze all NPS entrance fees at their January 1, 1979, level and prohibited collecting entrance fees at any additional units.
Closed - Implemented
Congress should amend section 4 of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, as amended, to remove the $10 limit on the price of a Golden Eagle Passport.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Interior 1. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to establish guidelines for applying the six legislative criteria for setting park entrance fees.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of the Interior 2. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to use the guidelines established for applying the six legislative criteria to set entrance fee levels at park system units.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of the Interior 3. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to set the price of the Golden Eagle Passport based on the levels of fees set at individual parks.
Closed - Implemented
P.L. 100-203 established the amount that NPS can charge for Golden Eagle passports at $25. Therefore, NPS cannot establish the price of Golden Eagle passports based on levels of entrance fees charged at individual parks.
Department of the Interior 4. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to extend entrance fee collection hours at parks where it is cost-effective to do so.
Closed - Implemented
An agency official noted that budget constraints hampered its ability to extend collection hours. Further, restrictions on the use of volunteers to collect public funds hindered NPS ability to extend collection hours. However, NPS attempted to extend collection hours to the maximum extent possible under the law within these constraints.

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