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king5news

climbing fees up at mt. rainer

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from the olympian 3/27

Mt. Rainier climbing fee rises

 

 

Hyer

 

 

 

 

N.S. NOKKENTVED THE OLYMPIAN

OLYMPIA -- Climbers will soon pay more to climb Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier National Park will double the "mountaineering cost recovery fee" in May.

 

The park will charge climbers $30 -- up from $15 -- to climb the mountain. Officials also eliminated the annual $25 pass.

 

Climbing will cost a flat $30 for a single climb or several trips during the year. The new fee starts May 1. The permit would be good from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

 

"With nearly 60 percent of Mount Rainier National Park's visitation coming from the Puget Sound area, we believe that the $30 flat fee for all climbers, whether you climb once or multiple times, is fair and equitable to the services that the staff of Mount Rainier provides in the climbing program," Superintendent David Uberuaga said in a statement.

 

The decision was based on comments from the public and the need to accommodate rising numbers of climbers and rising expectations, he said.

 

"I don't mind the fee," said Joe Hyer of the Alpine Experience.

 

But he said he did have a problem with it being instituted without proper public involvement and a fee-review process.

 

Other South Sound climbers have questioned what services climbers require that justified doubling the fee. Like all park visitors, climbers already pay an entrance fee in addition to the climbing fee.

 

Some complain that higher fees make the mountain accessible to fewer numbers of people, especially young people who have little discretionary money.

 

The park plans to re-evaluate the fee after three years and "could possibly increase as inflation and personnel costs dictate," a park news release said.

 

Mount Rainier has collected the climbing fee since 1995.

 

The money helps support the park's climbing program. It pays for climbing ranger salaries, removing human waste from the mountain and operating the wilderness information center, Chief Ranger Jill Hawk said earlier this year.

 

In 2002, the park collected $151,320 in climbing fees. The climbing program also got about $110,000 from Congress.

 

The program spent $260,000 in 2002. Doubling the fee would mean the program would take in about $300,000 in climbing fees, or about 3 percent of the park's total budget.

 

 

 

 

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king5news said:

 

In 2002, the park collected $151,320 in climbing fees. The climbing program also got about $110,000 from Congress.

 

The program spent $260,000 in 2002. Doubling the fee would mean the program would take in about $300,000 in climbing fees, or about 3 percent of the park's total budget.

 

So what appears to have been a neatly balanced budget affair in 2002 is now attempting to become a profit-making scheme... wazzup.gif

 

...sobo

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king5news said:

"I don't mind the fee," said Joe Hyer of the Alpine Experience.

 

....'cause my clients pay for it anyway snaf.gif

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fuck this...looks like just another excuse not to climb the dog route

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The money is really only to pay for people who use the dog routes (mainly feces and garbage administration). I still don't agree that money should be charged for non-dog routes becuase those routes do not have toiletry services.

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From the New York Times..

 

New Federal Fees for Using the Environment

 

WASHINGTON, DC - Faced with increasing budget shortfalls due to the war in Iraq, Michigan representative John McHanes ® has proposed a new bill that would institute a $15 fee for using the environment. "The American people have long enjoyed free use of the environment" McHanes said this morning during a capital steps news conference. "It is with great reluctance that this bill is put forth, but the benefits of this legislation will far outweigh the costs."

 

McHanes proposed bill would institute a $15 fee each time a person uses the environment. The fee would be collected at curbside boxes and neighborhood booths. Collected fees would then be put into a general fund. Eighty five percent of the fund would go towards environmental upkeep at the federal level, while the remainder would be distributed to local communities.

 

Opponents of the bill suggest that any federally mandated fees need to be carefully considered. "We can't just charge a person $15 every time they use the environment without a clear explanation of how the funds will be distributed and spent" says Virginian Democratic representative Gary Wanesforth. "This new fee system will provide a lot of capital resources to federal and local agenices, but the bill, in its current form, lacks a clear picture of how these news monies will be utilized."

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So what appears to have been a neatly balanced budget affair in 2002 is now attempting to become a profit-making scheme...

Not even completely balanced, since they still had a carry over of $1k+. Hey Mike, did that go to customizing the white van? hahaha.gif

I guess in all reality, it is only going up $5 for those of us who buy the season permit, but for those folks wanting to climb it one time, they are getting screwed! Especially those coming out for routes like Liberty Ridge, and Finger, Thumb and Nisqually Ice Cliff routes. You are paying to access the park, then paying for zero services in order to climb a mountain. In the investment world it is called, "No return on the dollar."

 

Many will say you can't put a price on the experience, but I fel that it should be a tiered system. I have no problem paying the $30 for the annual permit, and a slight problem with paying the old $15/person to climb, but understand what the money is for, but to double it is obsurd. Why not have a tiered approach? Say $30 season and dog routes (Ie. anyone using Muir or Sherman) and $15 for those using other routes. The more technical climbers will be happy, and those wanting to do the "dog" routes have to pay for services provided. I bet the overall outcome in annual budgets is not that much difference, since the majority of climbers in a given year are on the more standard routes, and those that climb the more technical routes are often visiting the park multiple times a year and buy the annual pass, so there will only be a few who would pay the one shot $15 on the more technical routes. My two cents. I would love to hear a response from Mike on this concept or others that were considered. I would also like to voice my distaste for the lack of public participation and climber considerations given in this process, since, after all, they will be the ones who will support the program. Hope this doesn't backfire on you guys and you end up with a smaller budget than last year because people decide to boycott the fees and/or mountain. I also estimate you will have a tougher job fighting poacher issues, in that more people will be less willing to pay and therefore will refuse to register. Good luck catching those on the more remote sides of the mountain!

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It could be worse, they were talking about having the annual pass go up to $50 or some such. At least this way the pepole who come and climb from out of town once on the dog routes pay as much as we pay for an entire season.

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I hate to say it, but the new system makes a fair amount of sense- the people who climb it once per year are probably using the dog routes (and using the waste management systems) while climbers repeatedly hitting the mountain are probably using different routes, and hopefully not impacting the environment as much. Also, it might be a fair generalization to say that people who don't climb as much put a proportionally greater strain on the climbing rangers (I could be way off base here).

It sucks to pay to climb public property, but this system seems a fair alternative to having frozen turds thawing out all along the Muir snowfield all summer.

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As I understand it, the majority of that money is used for maintenance of the toilet facilities at Muir. I'm sure well over half the use of that is by day hikers, who on a good weekend outnumber climbers dozens to one. So the climbers are subsidizing the day hikers, who don't pay the fee. Add to that the folks who do routes that don't include Muir or Sherman, and so get no benefit for it.

I'd rather they just doubled the per-car entry fee. That'd be much fairer.

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Alpine_Tom said:

As I understand it, the majority of that money is used for maintenance of the toilet facilities at Muir. I'm sure well over half the use of that is by day hikers, who on a good weekend outnumber climbers dozens to one. So the climbers are subsidizing the day hikers, who don't pay the fee. Add to that the folks who do routes that don't include Muir or Sherman, and so get no benefit for it.

I'd rather they just doubled the per-car entry fee. That'd be much fairer.

You can't be serious. Check out the 2000 budget and explain how "the majority of that money is used for maintenance of the toilet facilities at Muir".

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I think he was referring to the climbing budget, not the park's budget as a whole.

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But he said he did have a problem with it being instituted without proper public involvement and a fee-review process.

 

I believe that there were ample opportunities to attend public meetings in Tacoma, Seattle and Yakima. Those are the ones that I knew about, there may have been more on the East side. there were even several threads discussing this exact issue.

 

I think that $30 for a season pass is pretty good, and I will gladly pay. I also believe that "most" of the money funds the rangers, not the toilets (or removal of solid waste). And the last time I checked I still think you have to carry out your own shit on any route, so what difference does it make if it is a "dog" route or not?

 

rockband.gifmushsmile.gif

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hikerwa said:

I believe that there were ample opportunities to attend public meetings in Tacoma, Seattle and Yakima. Those are the ones that I knew about, there may have been more on the East side. there were even several threads discussing this exact issue.

rockband.gifmushsmile.gif

I am sure you would not make this mistake, but one should not confuse the process of walking through the steps to put on a public hearing with actually seeking and considering input. I don't know whether the folks at Mount Rainier would or have done this, but I believe that many agencies who operate under public review processes will hold hearings or solicit written feedback with no intention of listening to whatever feedback they receive.

 

By the way, this discussion is one that belongs in "access issues."

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Hey at least it isn't up to $150 like Denali. You also get to pay that money to climb Mt. Foraker where there are no toilets cry.gif. I still am undecided on user fees thumbs_down.gifthumbs_up.gif, I understand the merits, but also see the pitfalls. I figure if the money goes to keeping heavily used routes in good shape, then it is worth it and you gotta pay em whether you are in Patagonia or the Himalayas so it may be best just to get used to them in the US too rolleyes.gif.

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I think that $30 for a season pass is pretty good, and I will gladly pay.

 

If I read it right, they've eliminated the annual pass and will be charging PER CLIMB.

 

What they need to do is have a toll booth at Pebble Creek. Anyone who wants to go to Muir has to pay 5 bucks...including the hikers.

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freeclimb9 said:

Alpine_Tom said:

As I understand it, the majority of that money is used for maintenance of the toilet facilities at Muir. I'm sure well over half the use of that is by day hikers, who on a good weekend outnumber climbers dozens to one. So the climbers are subsidizing the day hikers, who don't pay the fee. Add to that the folks who do routes that don't include Muir or Sherman, and so get no benefit for it.

I'd rather they just doubled the per-car entry fee. That'd be much fairer.

You can't be serious. Check out the 2000 budget and explain how "the majority of that money is used for maintenance of the toilet facilities at Muir".

 

 

The money is used to pay the climbing rangers they guessestimate how many people will climb rainier each year and hire accordingly

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IMO this could have been a lot worse. Those who buy the annual pass feel almost no hit, while those who attempt once will now have a pass that allows them to come back and attempt it again that year. How many people put themselves in a situation that they shouldn't continue simply because they've paid the fee. W/o the all you can climb status of the fee you would have had groups of people pushing beyond theirs and natures limitations. Now everyone can say "guys, lets come back next weekend" much easier.

Just my 2cents.

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Skisports said:

The money is used to pay the climbing rangers they guessestimate how many people will climb rainier each year and hire accordingly

You haven't read the budget either.

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