NPS fee increase to $70?

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zacjust32
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by zacjust32 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:31 pm

franklin411 wrote:This is a blatant move towards privatization, and it's thoroughly undemocratic to boot.
Not sure how you're getting that. This is open to public comment (i.e. the democratic process) and the way it's going I doubt it'll pass. I encourage everyone to go and Leave a Comment if you feel one way or another. Discussion on this thread is a good way to flush out ideas, but doesn't actually change anything...








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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:11 pm

How were those parks selected for this increase? The crowding problem at Yosemite is far worse than in SEKI or Joshua Tree. I cannot imagine what more maintenance needed or crowding problems there are at Joshua Tree to justify the increase. Also, Joshua Tree is nearly empty in summer and winter is its prime time.

This spring they DID hold inbound traffic at the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite, until a certain amount of cars left the valley. This was due to a total clog of cars in construction zones. I have also heard that they shut the entrances temporarily a few other times. These sudden stoppages of entry just cause huge pile up of cars at the entrances. People need to know of entrance hold, before they drive to the parks. Perhaps they need something like CALTRANS Quick Map for the park. Honestly, if I knew I would have to wait in a 3-hour line to get into the park, I would simply not go that day. There actually are a lot of locals who simply take a drive into Yosemite for a day, particuarly when the Saturday news says that something wonderful is happening, such as peaking of waterfalls.

How about have a contest with reward/grant for university engineering students and researchers or even big technology companies like Google, to come up with creative solutions to traffic control in all parks. For example, could Yosemite have its own Uber type service? It is a shame that so many rangers are now nothing more than traffic controllers. That is a waste of the training rangers must have that should be used to interact with and educate visitors.

I would be interested to see the breakdown of visitors in parks; how many locals, out of state, for-profit tours, out of country, times of entry, length of stay, etc. If this kind of data could be gathered decisions could be made on actual data, not perceptions of managers or politics. I have my own perceptions that obviously are skewed due to my infrequent visits and timing; far from an overall look at the problem.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by longri » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:32 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:How were those parks selected for this increase?
The article linked in the OP includes a quote by the Secretary of the Interior calling for fee increases at "some of our most-visited parks".

Wandering Daisy wrote:The crowding problem at Yosemite is far worse than in SEKI or Joshua Tree. I cannot imagine what more maintenance needed or crowding problems there are at Joshua Tree to justify the increase.
It doesn't sound like this is an attempt to reduce congestion in the parks. Rather, it appears to be a way to raise money for "horing up our parks' aging infrastructure" (Secretary Zinke quote).

Wandering Daisy wrote:I would be interested to see the breakdown of visitors in parks; how many locals, out of state, for-profit tours, out of country, times of entry, length of stay, etc. If this kind of data could be gathered decisions could be made on actual data, not perceptions of managers or politics.

Are you suggesting different pricing for different types of people (e.g. out of state or foreign)?

There are pretty decent statistics available for NPS visitation (https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/), but as far as I know data aren't available for what you're interested in.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by franklin411 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:31 pm

zacjust32 wrote:
franklin411 wrote:This is a blatant move towards privatization, and it's thoroughly undemocratic to boot.
Not sure how you're getting that. This is open to public comment (i.e. the democratic process) and the way it's going I doubt it'll pass. I encourage everyone to go and Leave a Comment if you feel one way or another. Discussion on this thread is a good way to flush out ideas, but doesn't actually change anything...
Zinke and Company didn't give a flying fish about the fact that literally 99.9% of public comments regarding the shrinkage of National Monuments were opposed to the idea. I plan to post a comment, but let's not pretend that the democratic process is actually underway. The comments will all go unread and unheeded, and I'm only planning to post so that I can throw around statistics like the one above ("this administration ignores the will of the people...")

IIRC, they're required to solicit public comment before making a change like this, as part of standard administrative procedures law. They don't have to pay any attention to those comments, so asking the people for their input is strictly a formality.

Also, let's not forget that Zinke is ALREADY on record as calling for the privatization of National Park assets. I didn't realize this until the current fee increase plot was exposed, but in June, Zinke called for federal campgrounds to be sold to private owners. Can you imagine starting up the road to Mineral King, only to find that Cold Springs Campground now charges $50 or $100 a night?

http://theweek.com/speedreads/705425/in ... ampgrounds

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:17 pm

I agree that the current conservatives in charge would like to privatize the parks, but let's not get into hyperbole. We just finished an auto tour and camped at many private campsites. Our KOA sites with full hookups cost about $35-$40 and the most expensive tourist traps were $50-$55 with full hookups. Tent sites were about $25-$30. Privitization of NP tent sites would not likely get to the $100 range. But the senior discount will be gone.

Single letters may not help much, but when people who oppose orgainze with mass opposition, those in charge do have to listen.

Many services avalialable in the parks are already done by private consessioneirs. Privitization may be more of a threat to conservation and allow incompatible structures and activities just to make money and more high-end developments for the rich.

As to my question regarding more information on who actually uses the parks and when, this would be valuable to scientifically come up with a reaonable entry fee. And if it does come to quotas, I definitley would like to see a guarenteed percentage for American citizens. It would be a shame if those who live close to a park could not even utilize them because they cannot compete with the cleaver tour operators who know exactly how to nab permits. And if the data shows under-representation of minorities, then work could be done on including them, which would likely mean reduced entry fees, education efforts and more free entry days (such as the current year's program where all 4th graders and families get entry fees waived for one visit).

Needed or not, when you increase a fee more than double in one year, this is outrageous. And if this is for backlogged maintence, will they then lower the fee once the money is collected to do such? I doubt it.

I suspect that some of the shortfall for maintenance is due to costs of having to fight the severe fires of the last few years. Other means of financing fire fighting would free up money intended for mainteance.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Shawn » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:16 pm

IIRC, they're required to solicit public comment before making a change like this, as part of standard administrative procedures law.

Usually these types of proposed changes are published in the Federal Register for due process (including a public comment period). I took a quick look just now and couldn't find it (maybe I missed it?) - it looks more like a directive wrapped up and thinly veiled as a "project".

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by freestone » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:13 pm

Actually, I am amazed the NPS can support all the infrastructure and payroll they have installed over the years in all the parks and still charge only $70 dollars.
Fram...

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by SirBC » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:28 pm

zacjust32 wrote:
franklin411 wrote:This is a blatant move towards privatization, and it's thoroughly undemocratic to boot.
Not sure how you're getting that. This is open to public comment (i.e. the democratic process) and the way it's going I doubt it'll pass. I encourage everyone to go and Leave a Comment if you feel one way or another. Discussion on this thread is a good way to flush out ideas, but doesn't actually change anything...
Just like how Net Neutrality was open to the public for comment? Yeah, that went well...
-------------
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by wildhiker » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:53 pm

I would absolutely support higher entrance fees to national parks for foreigners. They aren't paying the taxes to create and support the parks. A lot of other countries do this. Ecuador charges us gringos $100 per person to visit the Galapagos Islands National Park; citizens are charged $6. Chile charges foreigners about $17 per person in low season and $33/person in high season to visit Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia; rates for citizens are about $6/person low and $10/person high season. Of course, some enlightened countries that understand "you get what you pay for" provide adequate tax funds for their national parks and charge no admission fee at all - such as New Zealand.
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by rlown » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:02 pm

pensions are a pain.. gotta fix that first..

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