NPS fee increase to $70?

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dave54
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by dave54 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:19 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:Lassen is no substitute for Yosemite Valley or Kings Canyon. Each park is unique and many who go specifically are looking for the specific offerings of each. Not to say Lassen is not a good park, but totally different. Some parks are ideal for day-trips; others most suitable for backpacking or multi-day trips. It is too bad that blanket "soltuions" area applied to a large group of parks.
Lassen is not on the list for a increase, as it is not one of the most popular parks. If the fee increase disperses visitors to other lesser used Parks the increase may be a blessing in disguise. Maybe that is one of the side intentions? Not that I want more visitors to 'My Park'. I like the quiet and solitude. :D

Then again -- I off trail hike in LAVO and the surrounding NF so I do not see many others anyway. The terrain is relatively gentle with little understory. Off trail hiking is easy. A maintained trail system is almost superfluous.

But in the bigger picture -- The NPS is competing for the same limited funds every other government program and agency wants, and every agency and program has its champions that insist it should be the priority. The regulars to this site favors the Parks, as expected. Health care, affordable housing, safe food inspections, education, national security, ad nauseum all need funding and have patrons clamoring for a bigger piece of the pie. To fully fund the Parks we must either go deeper in debt, raise taxes, or cut some other program. None are politically palatable. OTOH, as a taxpayer I support all agencies being a little bit hungry. When funds are limited managers start scrutinizing expenditures more carefully, choosing projects that deliver the most benefits at the least cost. This is a good thing.

IIRC Alex de Tocqueville wrote democracies survive only until the people start voting themselves money from the public treasury. We as a nation are in that position -- demanding more from the government without paying for it.


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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Brien » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:33 am

Yosemite has become a tourist attraction like Disneyland with visitors from other countries. It definitely seems to have gotten worse (the crowds) over the years. Perhaps the NPS needs to have a discount for in-state residents. That's how many amusement parks in Florida do it.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:12 pm

I am old enough to remember what going to national parks were pre-1970's. No fees either for entry or campgrounds. Few people. Other than Yosemite, which has always been a draw for international climbers, few international visitors. Even 10 years ago more crowded but not like today. I am very thankful that I was able to enjoy Yosemite before the crowds.

I am not a livid "America-First" person, but it has come to the point where busloads of tourists from other countries have definitely resulted in over-use. There is now a global elite, for whom the world is their playground, and American national parks are on their bucket list. Two years ago when going to Banff and Jasper in Canada I was dumbfounded by the busloads of Chinese tourists descending on under-sized facilities, making even getting a cafeteria style meal nearly impossible. Americans who can afford (money and time) international travel are also a part of that global elite, crowding other nation's public spaces. In many places, like Peru where we visited, the locals are now basically shut out of their public lands. Unfortunately these international tourists are "easy money" and I fear that in greed for funding, simply raising fees seems to be the way the bureaucrats are going.

I doubt anyone in the late 1800's could imagine that our public lands would become so overwhelmed by international visitors. I think they clearly intended the national parks, national forests and BLM public land to be available to the American public, at very little cost. These wild places simply cannot be preserved and allow the current use. I do think that Americans should have more access than the international visitors, not to say that we shut out the international visitors, but limit them. And definitely not limit by pricing out poor or moderate income citizens.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by rightstar76 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:05 am

I recall hiking near Moro Rock some years back and encountering a foreign visitor. We started chatting and he told me he had a lot of money and how cheap it was to stay at the Wuksachi Lodge. Later on, I couldn't help but remember how I had stayed at the lodge in Giant Forest back in the 1990s before it was demolished and how it was affordable compared to the Wuksachi. The Wuksachi is out of reach for most working class Americans.
Last edited by rightstar76 on Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by freestone » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:42 am

For a family of 4-6, $70 per vehicle is reasonable and for the entertainment value very worth it. It's hard to even take the family to a movie for less than that. Family skiing at Mammoth? Astronomical by comparison. One person per vehicle, I think this is what they are discouraging. Car pool or take the bus please!
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by mrphil » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:37 am

Speaking of Peru, most notably, Machu Picchu, here's what happens when the locals are shut out:

First of all, Machu Picchu is anything but a "sacred" site anymore. It's insanely crowded, and really, while still amazing, it's essentially become a money pit that's been redesigned into a million and one ways to part you with your money from start to finish.

If you've been there, or plan to go there, there are just two ways in: you travel the Inca Trail by foot, or you take the train in to Aquas Calientes from Ollantaytambo. Either way, you have to pay to visit the ruins and are subject to daily quotas. And if you hike, the government requires that you hire a guide at the ratio of one guide per person. Kind of a jobs program...understandable, but excessive.

So anyhow, we were there last year. What had happened was that locals that needed to conduct commerce and travel with their goods for market were priced out of the Peru Rail trains in favor of the masses of higher paying tourists. They weren't asking for a bigger piece of the pie, just to be able to conduct their lives. They rebelled. They shut down the road up to the site with boulders and vehicles. The police and military had to be called in to prevent the situation from escalating into violence as the people felt they had to make a stand and get the attention of their own government and assert their rights. Tensions were high, and tourists were quickly ushered out of the area or told to stay in their hotel rooms. The government thought they had this cash cow, but even the people that survived off the influx of tourism money understood the severity of the injustice and refused to cross lines. Literally thousands of foreigners and fellow, more affluent, Peruvians were unable to visit the site for two days, and many had to leave without seeing the ruins because of their itineraries. It was sketchy.

If anyone thinks that it couldn't happen here, they're very wrong. Push it far enough, and the whole fee increase will become moot, because nobody will come. You'll get 10 people that can afford it, and 100 that can't or won't. Then it'll devolve into some asking "Why are we even paying taxes for something we have no access to?". The Interior Dept and NPS might think they'll make more money up front, but they'll shoot themselves in the foot, not to mention, violate the premise behind the Wilderness Act's stated objectives of making public land accessible for everyone. At $70 a pop, that takes a lot of people off the table. Fortunately, I can pay the exorbitantt price of admission to " My National Park", but I'll stay away solely on the basis of principle.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by dave54 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:03 pm

True. Early in the NPS the parks were remote and inaccessible. Funding from Congress was virtually non-existent. When Mather started pushing for highway and railroad access the crowds came. Parks became popular and the funding followed.
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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by ndpanda » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:23 pm

mrphil wrote: The Interior Dept and NPS might think they'll make more money up front, but they'll shoot themselves in the foot, not to mention, violate the premise behind the Wilderness Act's stated objectives of making public land accessible for everyone.
You are mistaken. The "stated objectives" of the Wilderness Act are limited to preservation and protection of wilderness so as to leave it unimpaired for future generations. The only time "access" is even mentioned is to guarantee it for landowners whose property is surrounded by designated wilderness.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by longri » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:55 pm

ndpanda wrote:
mrphil wrote: The Interior Dept and NPS might think they'll make more money up front, but they'll shoot themselves in the foot, not to mention, violate the premise behind the Wilderness Act's stated objectives of making public land accessible for everyone.
You are mistaken. The "stated objectives" of the Wilderness Act are limited to preservation and protection of wilderness so as to leave it unimpaired for future generations. The only time "access" is even mentioned is to guarantee it for landowners whose property is surrounded by designated wilderness.
The line "preservation for future generations" carries with it the implicit promise of access.

The phrase "use and enjoyment" appears more than once. How can there be use without access? And the line "opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation" also makes it pretty clear that use (and hence access) is a major reason why the wilderness should be preserved. Wilderness is an ecological resource, or course, but many of the ecological goals could be realized without a prohibition on human development. The value of wilderness to humans as a place to actually visit is arguably the main reason for maintaining a large area in a near-primitive state.

At least that's how I read it.

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Re: NPS fee increase to $70?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:20 pm

Most national parks have both a wilderness designated area and non-wilderness designiated areas. Many National Parks were established long before the Wilderness Act. Most of the use in most of the parks is in the non-wilderness area, along access roads. Thus the stated objectives of the Wilderness Act do not necessarily apply. Preservation is still an objective, but along with allowance of roads, motorized vehicles and facilities so that people can visit. The question then is, if you need to restrict usage in order to maintain preservation, then "WHO is restricted and WHO is allowed to enter"? The National Parks were established to preserve unique natural enviornments so that the American Public, ALL citizens, could see these, and recreate in these environments. If numbers need to be reduced, then it should be a broad reduction, across the board, across all income levels.

As far as $70 being minimal (the price of a night out), that is not the case with low income people. Low income Americans do not go to expensive sports events, eat out at McDonalds and shop at the Dollar Store. If they camp, they buy thier gear at Walmart. Try to support a family on minimum wage and then see if you think $70 is pocket change.

There is also such thing as sticker shock. Even those who could afford it will look at the more than double increase in a single year and simply not go until they get used to the idea. That means that the money generated may be less than expected for a few years. If instead you raise prices 5-10% a year, every year, people grumble a bit but still go.

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