Who says special interest groups don't have clout?
While national park entrance fees for families and individuals have been inching ever upwards, the National Tour Association has negotiated a deal with the National Park Service to freeze entrance fees for tour groups through 2009.
"The opportunity for timely input has prevented serious financial and operational hardships for NTA tour operators and their clients," says Randy Julian, NTA's chairman and chief executive officer. "It is rewarding to work with our Park Service partners on fee and management regulations before they are locked in."
How much do tour buses pay to enter the parks? Well, a quick check of Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon national parks shows the fee is $300 for a motorcoach with at least 26 passengers, or roughly $11.50 per passenger.
Not only was NTA able to temporarily halt higher entrance fees for its members, the group also got the Park Service to agree to give them 16 months' notice of increases in the fees. So, next August the Park Service is supposed to tell NTA what the commercial fees will be in 2010.