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Mike_Gauthier

SF Chronicle Opin on NPS fees

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Let's respect the voices of our forefathers:

 

8. National park administration should seek primarily the benefit and enjoyment of the people rather than financial gain and such enjoyment should be free to the people with out vexatious admission charges and other fees.

 

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/kieley/kieley5.htm

 

There is precedent for no fees!

 

What about the lodges? Free to stay there?

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And what about all those visitor centers? and the gift shops? Seems like revenue-generation ploys to me. Not in the "spirit" of the parks.

 

They should all be bulldozered over.

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I think there's a big difference between basic access and extra amenities, and fees are necessary for extra amenities. I'm arguing against basic access fees.

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I think there's a big difference between basic access and extra amenities, and fees are necessary for extra amenities. I'm arguing against basic access fees.

 

It sure seems that visitor centers and lodges are revenue-generating machines created outside of the original purpose of the parks, as cited by you.

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What is your point, other than to argue? You are seeing the trees but not the forest.

 

 

he's just giving it to you slow...

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I think there's a big difference between basic access and extra amenities, and fees are necessary for extra amenities. I'm arguing against basic access fees.

 

It sure seems that visitor centers and lodges are revenue-generating machines created outside of the original purpose of the parks, as cited by you.

 

I'm not sure they generate that much profit, but maybe I'm remembering before the days of giving bids to corporate america. It's natural that some folks want to stay in the park, and some folks want to buy postcards and trinkets. But we shouldn't have five-star Vegas-style resorts in national parks.

 

Visitor centers serve a purpose for education.

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I remember once walking into the NPS office in the Tetons, no one was around so I wandered around and happened to walk into the Super's office. My complaint was that I did not like the fact I was visiting only Teton yet had to pay an entrance fee for both Teton and Yellowstone. The Super understood my view point but said I should talk to congress as they set up the rules (Congress sets the entrance fees for all parks). The Super then asked me how many days I was in the Park - two days - so that came out to $5 a day. He then asked me if thought the cost was worth the fun compared to a movie. Of course it was. He had me there.

 

The problem with the author's thesis is that she can already afford the entrance fee and feels that those who already can afford to go could probably afford a bit more for what they get - especially when compared to a night out at the movies. This thesis is true but only for a portion of the population.

 

The problem with her thesis is that it excluded the population that can not afford to go to the parks in the first place yet they still pay taxes and get no benefit. The other problem is that for those who visit 90% of the cost comes from the general fund.

 

So when 90% of the cost of the visit is already subsidized why not just make it free to all? On the other hand why not have those who do use the parks at least contribute something to their up keep? Where to balance??

 

As was noted there are free days a few times a year. Perhaps this idea is the answer. Many museums have a free day once a month as they want everybody to be able to see the arts yet realize that the cost is often more than many can afford.

 

Yeah you are restricted to certain weekends. But then again if you want to go on another weekend you know will have to pay. And if it is important enough you will find a way to make it work (i.e. you have an incentive - which are good).

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Regarding "Fee-Free" weekends... They were very successful this summer, in the fact that visitation rose substantially.

 

They were amongst the Yuppies I know.

 

The poor seemed to still be serving me burgers at McDonalds along the way.

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Every year I buy the $80 access pass; covers NPS entry fees, some BLM fees, and works as a NW FS pass. That work out to $6.66 a month; a fraction of what I spend gear/food/gas etc... The pass is a great deal when compared to $15-$25 entrance fees; which I feel are reasonable for the value received.

 

The article ignored the fact that the more fees are raised, the less visits the parks will get, especially from families who may only visit one or two parks a year; thus negating any increase in revenue.

 

Note: Flame suit on and fully zipped.

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KK, did I miss the post where you apologize to Bill Coe when it turns out the "hypothetical family" you accuse him of manufacturing is actually his own experience?

 

So, as a comparison, the entire annual budget for the National Parks is the equivalent of 8 DAYS of the Iraq war. And that's using a relatively conservative cost estimate ( citation). How about we just take a week off over there and make the National Parks free for everyone for a year?

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2.3 billion budget divided by 284 million visits is about 9 bucks a visit. About the cost of a movie!

I'll keep buying the $80 pass and hope that the money goes to parks. They should change the golden age pass to the golden disadvantaged pass, I'd guess many seniors could afford to pay full price and let someone struggling get the break.

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KK, did I miss the post where you apologize to Bill Coe when it turns out the "hypothetical family" you accuse him of manufacturing is actually his own experience?

 

So, as a comparison, the entire annual budget for the National Parks is the equivalent of 8 DAYS of the Iraq war. And that's using a relatively conservative cost estimate ( citation). How about we just take a week off over there and make the National Parks free for everyone for a year?

 

You can always find an outlier - OW. I still call it a bullshit scenario. And the fee is just one part of the cost to visiting a park.

 

The poster child for these fees is Yellowstone, which was raised to $20 a few years back, and may be even more now. The population of Wyoming+Montana is fairly low, with the vast majority of visitors travelling hundreds of miles to visit. Consider a resident of King county - the trip is at least 600 miles to the N. entrance via the I-90. Even with a car with good mileage (25 mpg), that's 24 gallons of gas each way, or 48 gallons round trip. At $3 / gallon, we are talking $144. A $20 entrance fee is around 15% of that cost. Now add in camping fees - at least $10 a night for a semi-developed site (I just paid $12 in the Olympics at one site, and $18 at another). Or does this poor family just poach - there are issues with that as well (damage to the undeveloped sites, garbage, etc, and extra cost commuting daily into and out of the park).

 

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I bitched about the Canadian park fees which are much higher than ours.

 

First of all, Canada (last time I checked) is not within US borders, so what fees in Canada have to do with NP in the US? Nothing- but that's I guess normal for you not be able to follow a simple conversation. If you don't like the fees in Canada- my advice is don't go there- really simple. Canada has totally different tax structure and funding is done completely in a different matter. Something you have no clue about.

The fee is 75 CDN (which is about 68 USD at the moment) per year. There are no other fees included for usage. 75 bucks gets you for a year into any park in Western Canada. Compared to earnings in Canada I think it is quite reasonable. Now compare it to the US: US Forest Service trailhead parking fee, BLM fee, every National Park fee (not to mention 150 USD for climbing permit for Denali, Mt Foraker and 25USD for Rainier) average climber in the US is looking at 100-300/year of fees for climbing. And you are bitching about 68 bucks in Canada? Get real!

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It would be cool to develop a volunteer trail crew group program with a few paid supervisors, and reward their work with park entry benifits, that way needed trail work gets done (e.g. ipsut creek trail), and the people involved in the work have a rewarding and qualilty exprience. I have often wanted to spend a few days volunteering with a pick and shovel to help maintain trails, clean trash etc...

Your wish is my command.

I-MAC runs a trail maintenance work crew every year, sometimes twice. Come on out and help build/repair trails near L-worth and pick up your free NW Forest Circus Pass and do a good deed all at once.

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I bitched about the Canadian park fees which are much higher than ours.

 

First of all, Canada (last time I checked) is not within US borders, so what fees in Canada have to do with NP in the US? Nothing- but that's I guess normal for you not be able to follow a simple conversation. If you don't like the fees in Canada- my advice is don't go there- really simple. Canada has totally different tax structure and funding is done completely in a different matter. Something you have no clue about.

The fee is 75 CDN (which is about 68 USD at the moment) per year. There are no other fees included for usage. 75 bucks gets you for a year into any park in Western Canada. Compared to earnings in Canada I think it is quite reasonable. Now compare it to the US: US Forest Service trailhead parking fee, BLM fee, every National Park fee (not to mention 150 USD for climbing permit for Denali, Mt Foraker and 25USD for Rainier) average climber in the US is looking at 100-300/year of fees for climbing. And you are bitching about 68 bucks in Canada? Get real!

 

My one-week car-camping trip to Banff/Jasper last year was far more expensive than any one-week trip I have taken to US National Parks. The trips were 100% analogous (car camp within park boundaries), and it had nothing to do with the exchange rate. Piss off.

 

 

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I bitched about the Canadian park fees which are much higher than ours.

 

First of all, Canada (last time I checked) is not within US borders, so what fees in Canada have to do with NP in the US? Nothing- but that's I guess normal for you not be able to follow a simple conversation. If you don't like the fees in Canada- my advice is don't go there- really simple. Canada has totally different tax structure and funding is done completely in a different matter. Something you have no clue about.

The fee is 75 CDN (which is about 68 USD at the moment) per year. There are no other fees included for usage. 75 bucks gets you for a year into any park in Western Canada. Compared to earnings in Canada I think it is quite reasonable. Now compare it to the US: US Forest Service trailhead parking fee, BLM fee, every National Park fee (not to mention 150 USD for climbing permit for Denali, Mt Foraker and 25USD for Rainier) average climber in the US is looking at 100-300/year of fees for climbing. And you are bitching about 68 bucks in Canada? Get real!

 

My one-week car-camping trip to Banff/Jasper last year was far more expensive than any one-week trip I have taken to US National Parks. The trips were 100% analogous (car camp within park boundaries), and it had nothing to do with the exchange rate. Piss off.

Now you start comparing costs of living or what? I spent far more time in there and I can assure readers you are full of shit on this subject matter. Icefields Parkway campground is $20/4 people 1 car, so I don't know what you are talking about? The year park fee is 75CDN. Here, simple. Too much for you, simply don't go there. Just to remind the topic is entrance NP fees in the US. Stay on subject.

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All i have to say is the National park service and the national forest service fee's are bullshit! These Morons having been catering to corporations by giving away our public lands(for extraction I.E mining and timber), for nothing and using tax dollars to make it easier to get to these remote untouched places so they can trash it and again foot us with the bill for clean up when there done (sound familiar, bank bailout anyone)! Instead of paying a fee to go on OUR public lands lets make these company's pay a fraction of what there making off the rape and pillage of OUR land. Instead everybody just buys into this idea that we need to pay for what we use when we already pay for it. On top of all this the American people have still never voted on whether we should have these fee's anyway. Wake up people!

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Fees, and both NP and NF (RE the latter: another groovy sign kiosk or self-perpetuating enforcement job, anyone?) fees, are already high. As such, they have an inordinate filtering effect on those who aren't earning a steady living yet: teens. We've basically told an entire upcoming generation, on that is already challenged with the targeted marketing of fast food, sedentary entertainment, and the joys of shopping, that you've got to pay to fill the most basic human need: connecting with nature. That is a very, very bad thing culturally, and it will most likely not bode well for future environmental appreciation and, therefore, policy.

 

I never paid to the state when I was a teen for roaming the hills and mountains, including the High Sierra. Those experiences were fundamental and necessary, not 'nice to haves'. Why are we working towards denying this essential part of being alive to those who will succeed us?

 

As for NPS budget issues, they are purely political. If we wanted to fund the NPS tomorrow fully, AND eliminate entry fees altogether, we could...we've simply chosen to go on foreign adventures in the Middle East and Central Asia instead.

 

That's a cultural choice we've made. How did we get here? Look in the mirror.

 

Perhaps we'd be better off as a nation if we, as individuals, got a little dirt under our fingernails out in the woods more and bolstered our flagging self-esteem vicariously through the misguided exploits of a vastly bloated military from the safety of our couches a little less.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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The video (at least the first one) says that you should write Sect Salazar. It's actually Sect Vilsack that oversees the Dept of AG and therefore the USFS. But if you go so far as to draft a letter, you might as well get the Chief of the USFS and the Director of the NPS. And while you're sending letters, it really does help to get the Congressional committees that oversee the authorizing of these programs. That is, the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. ;)

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