JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The fee for cruise ship passengers traveling into Glacier Bay National Park in southeast Alaska will increase next year.

The Juneau Empire reports the permit fee for each passenger for the next decade will increase from $5 to $8.28.

The new rate comes as the National Park Service is seeking to award new contracts to cruise ship companies for access to the park. The contracts govern how many cruise ships can enter the park each year and how much each ship will pay.

Park service concessions specialist Melanie Berg says the agency asks each contract bidder detailed questions about how its operations will affect the park's ecosystem.

Of the about 550,000 people that visited the park last year, more than 330,000 arrived by cruise ship, according to the park service.

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