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National Park Service

Democratic politicians from the Pacific Northwest are up in arms over a proposal to dramatically increase entrance fees at popular national parks next year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As the federal government weighs whether to increase entrance fees for some national parks, a congressman from Washington state is proposing a different way to address a big maintenance backlog.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

The National Park Service is asking the public to weigh in on whether it should allow cell service providers to set up in Mount Rainier National Park.

The proposal would allow providers to set up equipment in a building in a developed part of the park. Coverage would be limited to the area immediately surrounding it.

When the park service first floated the idea last fall, comments were split about half in favor and half opposed.

President Trump has donated his salary from his first few months in office to the National Park Service, making good on a campaign pledge to forego a presidential paycheck.

His gift represents a small fraction, however, of the money the Park Service stands to lose if Trump's budget were adopted.

Instead of collecting a salary of $400,000 a year, Trump has volunteered to donate that money to charity. He chose the Park Service as the beneficiary of his first installment, $78,333, which covers the first ten weeks Trump was in office.

There's a popular refrain among National Park Service employees, one that doubles as a reminder, of sorts, after a long, wearisome day: "We get paid in sunrises and sunsets."

For many park employees, the pay is seasonal and not great. The hours are long. The question is usually the same ("Where's the bathroom?"). And no matter how many pamphlets you pass out, instructions you give or "Attention!" signs you put up, people still wander off trails, carve their names in trees and get too close to the bears.