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US National Parks To Slash Number Of Free Days For Visitors

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Felicia Fonseca, AP
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National parks in the U.S. will sharply drop the number of days they allow visitors to get in for free, a move that was criticized by opponents of the parks' plan to raise entrance costs at other times of the year.

After waiving fees 16 days in 2016 and 10 days in 2017, the National Park Service announced Tuesday that it will have four no-cost days next year. They will be Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 15), the first day of National Park Week (April 21), National Public Lands Day (Sept. 22) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11.

This year's free days included all of Veterans Day weekend and the weekends surrounding National Park Week. All of National Park Week and four days over the 100th anniversary of the Park Service were free in 2016.

The Park Service charges weekly entrance fees of $25 or $30 per vehicle at 118 of the 417 national parks. The Park Service has proposed raising the cost to $70 at 17 busy parks mainly in the West, including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion.

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