NPS considers entry fee hike to pay maintenance
The Department of the Interior, through the National Park Service, is proposing that admission prices be raised to $70.00 per car. Motorcycles would go up to $50.
OK – here’s my Op-Ed take on this.
The National Parks are a resource for ALL citizens (and foreigners) to enjoy adventure, solitude and to enjoy nature away from the buzz of urban sprawl. I began my love of Yosemite in 1990, when I first hiked to the top of Half Dome. 41 more times and I am hooked. But I’ve also added the other classic trails: Clouds Rest, Yosemite Falls, Four Mile, the original Big Oak Flat Road, etc. The place is stellar.
About 3 years ago, the admission was jacked to $30 and camping got bumped up also. I can afford it, but I don’t go in every day. Some do. But I must admit, my Half Dome hikes are getting darn expensive. I stay at the Curry (er, Half Dome) Village tent cabins, since I want to get a good night’s sleep before this massive hike (you will agree if you’ve ever done it.) The rates for a 4-man run about $140 per night. A 2-man is about $120. So a 2- night adventure with admission, gas, bed and food can run push this over $400.
So most of us are well off enough to go once a summer. I’ve done the hike five times in 2 consecutive summers – yes, I’m addicted…..er, no it’s my passion. But it is a hit in the wallet. I also do many other worldwide adventures that call for $$$.
My big societal concern is for the lower income folks. $30 per car is high enough – $70 could make a trip very, very hard for a family to go to the park. It’s OUR park…merely administered by the NPS. Many inner city kids will be shut out. We need a future generation to love the place and carry on when we are pushing up daisies.
Maintenance has been improving at Yosemite and other parks. Note the work at the Big Trees. Yes, the toilets at Glacier Point are an embarrassment – what do people from Europe, China and Australasia think of us? Sheesh. 5 Million came to Yosemite in 2016. Is that 5 million heads? How do they count? Have you ever seen anyone at the gate counting? Hmmm – sounds like giant guess.
Yosemite statistics show about 6,000 parking places. So that’s 6,000 cars enter. If this is multiplied by the $40 raise, we just generated $240K right there – just in our park. The other BIG parks would also get the raise. Grand Canyon draws 6 million. The others hover at about 4 million. You do the math. Soon, where;s all the do-ray-me going? There were over 300 million visitors to all National Parks last year. 80% goes to the park that raises it. So we could be paying to pave roads at Moosejaw Park in Bums Knuckle, Idaho. How about the Glacier Point toilets?
Affected parks are: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah, Joshua Tree and Zion. The new rate would be charged only in peak season.
We can comment on the plan – it’s only proposal, a plan, an idea, for now. Get involved, send them a few words with your opinion. Maybe you agree. You have until Nov 23 to comment. See the details and how to comment on the proposal here.
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