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NPS Proposes Fee Increase at 17 National Parks

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This is likely to be an unpopular opinion but I think I understand the need.  I'd like to see some kind of voucher system where every tax-paying family is given one entry annually but that feels like a lot of overhead and cost.

I was happy to see that they were at least going to apply this evenly and increase the cost for the commercial bus providers.  If you have been to Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite in prime season  you know that it is hard to move because of buses continuously unloading 75+ people.  

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Considering that many of us have spent $100 per head per day to visit places like Disneyworld, $70 for a carload of people to visit Yellowstone for a few days sounds pretty reasonable.   I know there are those who think we shouldn't have to pay to visit "our" lands, but I understand the need to pay for maintaining our parks for future generations to enjoy.

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It would be great if we didn't have to pay but the fact is the government budget is not starting to cover the costs of keeping our NP system up to par. So I see no other remedy but increasing entrance fees. While I love my senior pass I don't think it would be unfair to start asking us to cover more of the entrance fee.

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The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 park sites charge an entrance fee, and the current proposal only raises fees at 17 fee-charging parks

 

I wonder if they should not expand the number of locations where fees are charged?  

List of the United States National Park System official units

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I have always felt that we underpay to visit our parks. I also never understood why the fee paid was for 7 days.

I would like to see the fee go to a per day price. We pay $15 for parking in many places, the Parks are a  bargain, even with a price increase.

I think it is about time.......................

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21 hours ago, jpcoll01 said:

 I'd like to see some kind of voucher system where every tax-paying family is given one entry annually but that feels like a lot of overhead and cost.

There's no need for vouchers since the NPS offers free entry days several times a year.  Unless they're going to do away with this as part of the fee increase.

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2 hours ago, SWharton said:

I would like to see the fee go to a per day price.

That would *really* keep out many moderate to low income families from visiting!

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8 minutes ago, LindaH said:

That would *really* keep out many moderate to low income families from visiting!

Not sure I understand your logic. If the fee was based on a day at 1 seventh of the proposed weekly fee, it would save those who can not spend a whole week at the same park some cash.

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I don't think many family's on vacation would opt to skip Yellowstone due to a $70 car charge. However, it would be great if the $$ collected stayed in the actual park. We have volunteered at parks where facilities are in need of repair, but the funds collected are sent to HQ and a much reduced amount is sent back as "Budget".

Parks might even get financially creative and sponsor events like "Halloween Walk" if they could keep the collected funds locally, thus eliminate the need to increase entrance fees.

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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22 minutes ago, TCW said:

Not sure I understand your logic. If the fee was based on a day at 1 seventh of the proposed weekly fee, it would save those who can not spend a whole week at the same park some cash.

If the *daily* fee was $70, yes, it would keep out many people.  Heck, it would keep *us* out if we didn't have our Senior Passes.

Now, if you're talking about, say, $10 per day...which for the week would be the same $70 currently being discussed, that might be something different, especially for those people who don't want to spend 7 days in a park.

I found this Opinion piece from today's Spokesman-Review to be interesting:

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/oct/27/70-park-fee-doesnt-add-up/

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5 minutes ago, LindaH said:

...Now, if you're talking about, say, $10 per day...which for the week would be the same $70 currently being discussed, that might be something different, especially for those people who don't want to spend 7 days in a park.

I thought that is exactly what I said.

33 minutes ago, TCW said:

...If the fee was based on a day at 1 seventh of the proposed weekly fee, it would save those who can not spend a whole week at the same park some cash...

 

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2 hours ago, TCW said:

Since the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act became law in December of 2004, 80% of the fee collected remain in the park where they are collected.

Interesting, but not what I am seeing, Yellowstone must be swimming in cash then base on attendance alone. It is apparent that COE parks seem in better condition. State Parks are usually run down due to state budget constraints and I know that $$ doesn't stay in the parks.

Greg

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Yellowstone must be swimming in cash then base on attendance alone.

Not all visitors pay the entrance fee, i.e. America the Beautiful Pass holders. The Annual Passes also provide a substantial discount to frequent visitors. America the Beautiful Pass holders also get substantial discounts on other fees like camping. According to this article, the average age of visitors to Yellowstone was 54.  According to the Park, in 2015, funding from Fees amounted to $7.5 million of the parks $69.1 million budget.

Here is a link to the Inspector Generals 2015 Audit of the NPS fee program for anyone that may be interested.

Quote

State Parks are usually run down due to state budget constraints and I know that $$ doesn't stay in the parks.

That depends on the state. According to this article about New Mexico, "A network of 35 state parks costs $28.5 million to operate each year. The parks receive $8 million from New Mexico's general fund." It is my understanding that the rest of the funding comes from fees and revenues from mineral, timber and grazing leases. I don't think it stays in the individual park, but I remember an unsuccessful attempt a few years back to move money to the general fund.

Edited by TCW

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14 hours ago, theeyres said:

It would be great if we didn't have to pay but the fact is the government budget is not starting to cover the costs of keeping our NP system up to par. So I see no other remedy but increasing entrance fees. While I love my senior pass I don't think it would be unfair to start asking us to cover more of the entrance fee.

I could think of several places to adjust the ‘budget’  that would fund parks and huge number of other ‘people-centered’ endeavors.  But, that will bring us into a political discussion.  

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On 10/26/2017 at 2:08 PM, chirakawa said:

Considering that many of us have spent $100 per head per day to visit places like Disneyworld, $70 for a carload of people to visit Yellowstone for a few days sounds pretty reasonable.   I know there are those who think we shouldn't have to pay to visit "our" lands, but I understand the need to pay for maintaining our parks for future generations to enjoy.

I thought the same thing. I have no children and when I die, I'm going to leave my estate to NPS and the Humane Society. 

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I saw this on another forum.  Not sure what the answer is; seems just about every government agency is running out of and asking for more budget as the years roll along.  What is the appropriate level of funding for the NPS?  Sure glad we just got our Golden Age Pass this past summer! 

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Having worked in Yellowstone the last 4 summers and recognizing that the national parks were established for "the citizens to enjoy" I'd like to see the entry fees for non US citizens increased and no annual passes for non citizens.

Based on personal observation, a large portion of the daily maintenance time is devoted to correcting (cleaning) overseas guest's messes (standing on toilet seats when using restrooms, throwing TP behind the toilets rather than in them, using restrooms as kitchens, etc.). Granted, much of this is due to differences in how things are done in different countries, but the cost is still borne by the parks. Obviously, the big bucks have to be spent on big projects (roads, infrastructure, etc.), but keeping up with the guests requires a great deal of effort.

At Yellowstone, they have reduced law enforcement ranger staffing to an absolute minimum due to cost.

As others have said here - it's would still be cheap compared to private recreation industry costs.

Don

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