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Old 10-26-2017, 04:34 PM   #1
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Large rise in National Park entrance fee proposal

The National Park Service is floating a steep increase to entrance fees at 17 of its most popular sites next year. Visitors would be charged $70 per vehicle during peak season, up from the current $25 fee.

Motorcycles would be charged $50, and individuals on foot or bike would be charged $30.

A 30-day public comment period opened Tuesday.

The proposal comes less than two years after many of the parks that charge entrance fees became more costly. The rationale is the same this time around: to address a maintenance backlog and infrastructure projects.

The Park Service says it expects to raise $70 million a year with the latest proposal for parks mostly in the West.

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Old 10-26-2017, 04:54 PM   #2
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large increase

I think I saw 80bux for the big parks I don't think they will get anywhere close to that!

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Old 10-26-2017, 05:01 PM   #3
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I am torn over this. I understand why they are having to do it since there is a segment in government(in the majority currently) that sees any public land that is untouched as being wasted so the NPS' budget has been underfunded. Based on the law 80% of any money collected by admission fees stays in the park that collects it and 20% is put in a fund specifically for parks that don't charge admission. On the other hand this could price parks out of the budget for some people and I firmly believe the NP's are for all of the people. If the NPS' budget were what it should be, then this would be unnecessary.
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Alex Adams View Post
...there is a segment in government(in the majority currently) that sees any public land that is untouched as being wasted..
Blatantly untrue. Please stop with the political broad brush. Never ends well.
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Old 10-26-2017, 06:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rbryan View Post
Blatantly untrue. Please stop with the political broad brush. Never ends well.
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Old 10-26-2017, 06:51 PM   #6
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What if you have an existing geezer pass?
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
What if you have an existing geezer pass?
Hopefully you'll still pay half of the new rates. We'll see - since we had to pay for them it is a legal commitment.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:02 PM   #8
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High fees will help spread the visitors to less popular parks. Most every one is beautiful. Plus all the foreign tourists will help pay America's share.

Just don't take away my geezer pass.

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Old 10-26-2017, 07:35 PM   #9
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Outrageous! Im not a fan of this proposal. I have left my opinion with the website link posted above.

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Old 10-26-2017, 07:43 PM   #10
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We LOVE the National Parks. LOVE THEM. We have visited 32 of them to date and are on a quest to visit all of them before our kids both graduate. We donate aside from park fees on an annual basis because they are drastically underfunded. While it seems like a crazy amount to charge, it is still SIGNIFICANTLY less than almost any other vacation one could take. If we don't take care of our parks, who will? If we can't get them funded in other ways, what other choice do they have? It matters to me that my kids have the opportunity to take their children to see the parks someday. It matters to me that these amazing places are protected and remain in place for future generations. If those of us who love them can't cough up money to care for them, then we can't expect our government or others to do what we won't. I know others have different opinions, but that is how I feel.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:13 PM   #11
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National Parks right now have almost $12 billion in deferred (delayed) maintenance. $70 for a carload at a park is still cheap. Go to Disney sometime, a carload will cost you $500 to $600 plus they charge you $15 to park....

If the fee increase goes to the parks, I'm all for it. If it is siphoned off for other spending, forget it.

If the parks are not maintained properly, then we are not doing our job protecting these key areas for future generations.

As far as underfunding, the Park Service has been underfunded when the democrats were in charge and remain underfunded with republicans in charge. Neither party has done their job supporting parks. Interesting senate bill to fund the deferred maintenance was co-sponsored by a republican and a democrat.

Note that the increase will not do much, $70 million versus a $12 billion, it is going to take way over 100 years to handle the deferred maintenance.

President after president, both parties, have added parks and millions of acres without adding funding to maintain the parks that already exist.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
What if you have an existing geezer pass?
The information page from the park service regarding the proposed price increase in some of the parks says that the senior pass gives you a pass on having to pay that proposed price increase

So the price for the senior pass owners will stay the same year round even during the time of year that additional high season fee is active.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:26 PM   #13
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Great that the pass still is the same. I also don't feel like there is a problem with an increase in the fees, even if I have to pay it, as long as it does benefit the parks. I really don't mind paying the tolls on roads, because they are often much better roads than other interstates in the same state, and in the winter (at least in IL) they are cleared faster, kept clear better, etc. I don't mind the taxes in the gasoline, as that is also earmarked for roads, both state and fed, and I drive those roads.

I know that if I want to enjoy the parks, I need to help pay for them, and they will never be funded properly since those who use and enjoy them do not generate enough votes in the elections to make it something that will get someone elected. Makes sense to pay and enjoy, knowing they will be there for others.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:32 PM   #14
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It seems the new NPS proposed budget has cuts in some programs and not in others. Another controversial subject, at best.

For about a century we have been talking about preserving national treasures and recognizing that these places have a value beyond money, like Yosemite, for instance. We have been preserving areas for "our grandchildren", preserving natural wonders, preserving history, protecting areas from development, celebrating the wonder of those places nationally by making sure they are available to all of us. The people of the US own these places and have collectively decided that they are worth preserving.

If that is true, and I think most of us believe it is, these special places should be cared for and protected, in the national interest, by all of us, not just the few who visit them and not by political whim. If they are so important, why should only the few who visit pay for their preservation? Why should lower income families be blocked from visiting because of the cost to get through the gate? Are these places national treasures or are they simply just other amusement parks whose futures depend on profit?

National parks inspire wonder and research. They bring families together. They celebrate our country and they are for us all.

Parks should be funded according to their stated value to all of us as national treasures, in other words, budgeted nationally and free to all who visit. They belong to all of us and they have a value to all of us. Or do they? We could still regulate the flow of visitors and make reservations, etc, but we should not use the entrance fee to regulate the flow or support the parks by the few who visit.

Through it all we have all believed these are public places. Places worth preserving. Places with intrinsic value. Are they?
I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:41 PM   #15
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Raising fees is consistent with recent trends. As with so many things in this world, parks are not budgeted the way I would do it, nor as someone else would do it, but things are the way they are. I guess that could be viewed as a challenge or an opportunity.

In Washington, the State Parks have moved to a substantially fee-based model. A similar model is applied in Oregon.
  • The Oregon State Park system is not funded by general fund tax dollars. The agency's budget comes mainly from user fees, a portion of RV registration fees and funding from Lottery proceeds.
In Washington a fee is included on the form for our vehicle registration; you can opt out, or you can change the amount that you contribute. You can also buy an annual pass as part of the transaction. The passes cover day-use fees but not overnight stays.

There are established private non-profits in each state which operate with the goal of providing some additional support.

I support the park systems financially on one hand, and I post my opinions to legislators on the other. I do these things to support the park systems as they are important to me.

It's pretty easy to point to how someone else should or could pay for something. It's probably even easier to find a way to help out if you are so inclined. I feel fortunate that I am able to do so.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:43 PM   #16
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Parks have always had more visits from people of means. First, you have the cost of taking a vacation. Secondly, potential loss of income/overtime/etc. Travel is a bit of a luxury. People that struggle to pay their regular bills are less likely to travel. Its not the entrance fees, its the time and expense getting to the park. Many of the best parks are not close to where people live (how many live in Wyoming for example). Sure there are exceptions. But my favorite parks are about 2,000 miles from where I live. The entrance fee could be zero and you would still see more people of means visiting.

I am fortunate and have the resources and time where I can afford to visit. Almost all of the expense of my visits to the parks has nothing to do with entrance fees. Its gas, hotels (or camping), food, and more. Its getting there. I head to the Grand Canyon next week. The most direct route its 2,000 miles one way. I won't be taking the direct route.

Sadly, many US citizens don't really like the parks that much.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post

President after president, both parties, have added parks and millions of acres without adding funding to maintain the parks that already exist.
I've seen this too. It seems more like an agenda than simply protecting a special place that is in danger.

I've even seen it at the more local level where a proposal was made to trade BLM land for private land to make a new shopping center and to declare an area as "wilderness" that was a purely political activist agenda concerning an area that had already been determined to not fit the definition. The proposal included outright lies by a group, most of which had never even seen the area in question. I questioned them directly and got blank stares or denials of what I knew to be true as this area is just 1/2 mile from me and I know it well.

Unfortunately, some of the designations (Death Valley for example) were clearly political and have led to protests, increased regulations that were never necessary, destruction of history and rules enforcement that is very difficult to justify or pay for. It has led to a need for more money to do maintenance, enforcement and "restoration" that ruins the interesting history of the area. Unfortunately, parks are not just about preservation, they are often about wiping away any evidence of human activity and blocking visitors from visiting public lands. Not always, of course, but often enough.

I'm the last one to tolerate destruction of history and public areas, but I am the first to raise my hand in protest when the issue is being used as a political agenda.
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:56 AM   #18
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What's wrong with the people who use the National Parks paying for that privilege?

Nothing from "my" perspective!

Our National Parks are no different from any other product or service you "Use & Consume"!

You pay to play!

I commented in favor of the increase.

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Old 10-27-2017, 06:02 AM   #19
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Years ago I sat in a department meeting to discuss spending money on equipment. The state had announced major cuts and layoffs coming. After a brief discussion we decided that equipment wise we could get by and decided the money should be returned to the state to ease the financial crisis. The next day we were told by the president of the institution we would spend the money. That was an early lesson in how beauracracies work. They always ask for more than they need. Always spend all they get. And the money is always well spent.

Seeing how easy it is for some people to spend other people's money and how little oversight there is has made me skeptical. Nobody ever climbed the ladder by maintaining the status quo.

Nothing lasts forever. Talk to the Romans . But our parks should be preserved for as long as possible. I have no trouble paying taxes and fees for that purpose. I have no trouble paying for our military and police who keep us safe. No trouble paying for roads and bridges. No trouble paying for the public services we all use. It's that bridge to nowhere I have trouble with. Raz
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:30 AM   #20
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Pay to play? Perhaps all roads should be toll roads. Perhaps you should pay to walk on the sidewalk. Perhaps there should be an entrance fee at the city playground. Perhaps we should charge tuition at public schools.

We choose to fund some public infrastructure and services through general taxes, some through user fees, and some through a combination of taxes and user fees. We make those decisions through democratic process and it is always subject to revision as priorities change.

National parks (and many state parks) have traditionally been funded primarily through general taxes with relatively low user fees. The philosophy was to maintain public lands for use by all, while at the same time preserving natural treasures for the future.

I am very glad I had a chance to visit most of them back in the 70's with my family. I am glad I got to spend a week backpacking in Grand Canyon in the 80's when it cost $15 to get in and the backcountry permit was free. I am glad I got to spend my honeymoon at the canyon in the El Tovar. I am glad Arizona still views its state parks as an asset to our tourism-based economy and subsidizes their operation through general taxes.

But I think Raz hit it on the head. Nothing built by man- whether objects or institutions- lasts forever. Whatever good thing there is, enjoy it now.
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