Interior backing away from steep fee hikes at parks

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2015, file photo, spectators gaze at El Capitan for a glimpse of climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, as seen from the valley floor in Yosemite National Park, Calif. The Interior Department is backing down from a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks after widespread opposition from elected officials and the public. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department is backing down from a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks in the face of widespread opposition from elected officials and the public.

Exploring the depths of Yellowstone Lake

The research vessel “Annie” with the submersible remotely operated vehicle “Yogi” deployed. The Yogi is capable of collecting fluids and solids in addition to photographically documenting features in and on the floor of Yellowstone Lake. C. Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Yellowstone Lake is huge. It is the largest high-altitude (above 2,130 meters, or 7,000 feet) freshwater lake in North America, covering about 341 square kilometers (about 130 square miles). That’s about 100 times the size of New York City’s Central Park! Over the past decade or so, researchers have discovered many new features on the lake bottom, including a vigorous hydrothermal system that would make for an impressive geyser basin if it were on land. In fact, the hottest hydrothermal vent temperatures measured anywhere in the Park were on the lake bottom — 170°C (340°F). What else might the lake be hiding beneath its surface?

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