NPS fee increase to $70?

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limpingcrab
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NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by limpingcrab » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:07 pm

http://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/10-24-2017 ... oposal.htm

Still open to public comment if you're so inclined.

Selfishly: Doesn't bother me because I can afford it and I always get the pass anyway. Maybe less people to deal with.

Objectively: Might be prohibitive to some people and I think public lands should be there for anyone who wants some time in the outdoors.

Personally: I've worked for and with the NPS on several occasions and do no believe they are efficient with their money so I don't think a fee increase should be an option until they use what they have more wisely.

Hmmm..... thoughts?








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maverick
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by maverick » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:22 pm

do no believe they are efficient with their money so I don't think a fee increase should be an option until they use what they have more wisely.
Care to elaborate on this a bit?
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by wildhiker » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:55 pm

I just read the news release. Thanks for posting.

Peak season fee of $70 per car/visit seems like an awfully big jump all at once from the current $30. Since the annual all-parks pass stays at $80, seems like anyone who wants to visit one of these top parks should just buy the pass. On the other hand, I am completely in favor of increasing fees for commercial tours, many of which rush people around to multiple parks. National Parks and Wilderness Areas are one of North America's chief comparative advantages for "exports" (in the sense that people from other countries spend money to come here and see them because they've wrecked their own natural areas) and we should definitely try to get more from those commercial tours to improve our balance-of-trade deficit.

Just last September I was at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park eating lunch after my backpack trip and chatted a bit with the driver of a big sleek tour bus that disgorged its passengers into the gift shop. He said his charter bus company works exclusively with German and French tour operators and takes groups from those countries on 10 day trips all over the southwest and California national parks. They must hit 6 or more of these "peak season" parks in one trip. That could generate a lot of revenue!

I have the senior pass, so this doesn't directly affect me. But there should be some kind of lower-cost annual pass for low-income citizens - say $25 per year - because the parks really do belong to the whole country. Obviously, lots of trouble to figure out how to administer such a low-income pass.

-Phil

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by maverick » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:05 pm

Wondering if this has anything to do with a report, that said, that the presidents proposed 12% decrease to the DOI's 2018 budget, would significantly impact the NPS.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by rlown » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:45 pm

For that amount of money on an entry fee, I would expect never to be told again that, "the composting toilet at Vogelsang is out of order."

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by limpingcrab » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:31 pm

Care to elaborate on this a bit?
Sure. Couple examples that I experienced personally, there are quite a few I've "heard" about so I never know about the validity of those.

-When I was a grad student the park needed some research done that was in my area so I wrote a proposal that included a budget. I budgeted $400 to complete it and the NPS replied that it was too low to get approved (believe it or not). Long story short the final budget was $20,000 and half just went to me as a check. I was getting credit for it so I would have done it for free.

-I'm on a volunteer SAR team that was not called to a search in a park. Instead they hired off duty park employees (with no SAR experience), myself, and a bunch of other people. Long story short I made almost $400 for something I would have done for free if they called the volunteer teams. When I asked why I was told, 'As soon as the budget for a search passes $500 it comes out of a national pool. It's basically bottomless so we hire people who want to make money instead of using the free teams."

-While getting a tour of new construction in a park I was told that the retaining walls all used rock from back east. The guy giving me the tour was furious because he said there were local sources that would have been way cheaper without the shipping and he didn't know why GRANITE was brought to the Sierra from the east coast.

The list goes on. But hey, when you work for the government you're rewarded for increasing budgets and departments and services instead of saving money and cutting costs.

I should add, maybe there are good explanations for all of these and other stuff but I don't know them. Working for the government (in education) I see the same kind of thing.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by maverick » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:36 pm

-When I was a grad student the park needed some research done that was in my area so I wrote a proposal that included a budget. I budgeted $400 to complete it and the NPS replied that it was too low to get approved (believe it or not). Long story short the final budget was $20,000 and half just went to me as a check. I was getting credit for it so I would have done it for free.

-I'm on a volunteer SAR team that was not called to a search in a park. Instead they hired off duty park employees (with no SAR experience), myself, and a bunch of other people. Long story short I made almost $400 for something I would have done for free if they called the volunteer teams. When I asked why I was told, 'As soon as the budget for a search passes $500 it comes out of a national pool. It's basically bottomless so we hire people who want to make money instead of using the free teams."

-While getting a tour of new construction in a park I was told that the retaining walls all used rock from back east. The guy giving me the tour was furious because he said there were local sources that would have been way cheaper without the shipping and he didn't know why GRANITE was brought to the Sierra from the east coast.

The list goes on. But hey, when you work for the government you're rewarded for increasing budgets and departments and services instead of saving money and cutting costs.
Thanks for posting these examples, which are probably just a drop in the government waste bucket. :\
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:56 pm

Economists say that everything has a price point above which people will just not purchase the product. The increase is enough that it may just price many people out of the market. Those who plan on several trips will simply buy the annual pass for a small incremental more. Those who would otherwise go once will simply choose other places to go. And if reducing visitors is a hidden goal of the increase, then shame on the park service. Pricing out lower income visitors is just mean.

Those on a long vacation or busloads of tourists will just pay the amount because it is small in comparison to the total cost of their trips. Local families, particularly the working poor who probably only get one week vacation a year anyway, will simply go elsewhere. To put this in perspective, for me, $70 exceeds the cost of driving to Yosemite plus my campground fee. For the low income family in Merced, it becomes even worse.

It is a shame that this will lead to our national parks becoming playground for the rich. We will become like a third world country where greed for foreign tourist money will become more important than having public access for our own country's citizens. It is first time, and one time visit of kids from that poor family that may turn on those kids to appreciating the wilderness. Now they may never come. I grew up in a lower income family. My dad only got one week vacation. We could never afford to go on a trip if we had to stay in motels. Our annual trip was to Glacier National Park, and back there were then, no fees at all! Here we learned of wilderness.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Shawn » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:07 pm

For the low income family in Merced, it becomes even worse.

This is what pains me the most. A dramatic increase in fees would significantly reduce the ability for the modest income families to enjoy the parks.

I'm no math whiz, but I sure do believe in the Pareto principle as applied to economics. If the fee were to be increased, I believe over the course of time there would be a net loss in revenue because 80% of the modest income and frequent park visitors would curtail their visits leaving the other less frequent 20% to make up the difference.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by ironmike » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:33 pm

I was in Yosemite Valley back in September and was appalled by the crowds, the lack of poor visitor service, and complete lack of a wilderness experience. If raising fees improves any of these issues, I’m a supporter.

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