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Fee Increase for National Parks to be scaled back

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On 4/5/2018 at 6:51 PM, 2gypsies said:

What campground is 90% empty in the south?

Why mention Gates of the Arctic NP?  It's a remote wilderness park with minimal employees.  There are no fees to enter the park. There's no cell, no roads, no trails, no campgrounds, no established service.

The campground you stayed at Lake Mead, if it's the one I'm thinking of,  charged you an entrance fee but it was good for 7 days, not each day and it was $5 less for the motorcycle entry - for 7 days.  Your camp fee was $10/night with the Senior or Access Pass.  I would imagine you had much better scenery staying there than in a RV park in town and more recreational opportunities.

The national parks we've been don't need more people, for sure.   Having volunteered in the national parks we saw maintenance issues that the public never sees.  We also witnessed total disrespect for the beautiful parks. You would not believe what law enforcement rangers encounter.  These parks aren't just a matter of driving in and setting up camp. There's a lot that goes on in the background and a lot of money is needed to keep the parks safe be it maintenance, roads, trails, safety, programs.

The campground is on Lake Mohave (Cottonwood Cove) were at least 90% empty once our group left there might have been 4 sites taken up in the whole place . There were 10 or 12 of us on the lower campground near the lake. We took a walk and found 1 tent in the upper. Don't see how they can help but loose money. I didn't want to stay a week.......only wanted to stay 2 days, so it doesn't matter how long the pass was good for.

The reason I mention Gates of the Arctic if for exactly what you said. No fees and their is staff there. It's a drain on the National Park system. Don't know what your definition of "minimal staff" is, but there is a ranger station in Bettles and Coldfoot. With no roads in the park they have to fly everywhere. Don't know how much you know about the Alaska bush, but it is extremely expensive to live there. Where does the money come from to pay them and their transportation? Could this park be one of the reasons they need money? Then there is Kobuk Valley and ANWR which is the same deal as Gates of the Arctic. How much money do you think the go through with no return?

My solution is each park needs to fund itself through the entry fees they already have. I am sure the busy places like Yellowstone and Denali generate enough money to keep themselves running. If a park can't support itself then it needs to be shut down or at least closed during the slow season. Every government agency says it is broke. When was the last time you heard one had enough money? Sorry, I just don't buy their sob story.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 4/6/2018 at 8:26 AM, Kirk Wood said:

Mind sharing which Cottonwood Lake? I found a long list of them in several states on Google. Just wondering.

I believe that if you check you will find that park was one so designated by an act of Congress, just as most of them are. The Park Service regularly gets such areas of land with little or no funds by way of our elected politicians. The NPS has the same problem in operating on the money that they have as does the postal service. Congress does not act responsibly.

 

Its Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave. I see now they have closed the upper campground. When I was there there was a section open.

https://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/campinglakemohave.htm

You are quite correct congress does not act responsibly and the park service is the same way. Which is exactly my point. They need to work within their means (fees they are already collecting). No matter how much money they get they will always need more. When was the last time you heard of a government agency NOT needing money? Keep in mind the National Park Service and  environmentalists wanted that land to prevent the oil industry from using it. Congress didn't force it on them.....they asked for it.

https://www.nps.gov/gaar/learn/historyculture/creation-of-gates-of-the-arctic-national-park-and-preserve.htm

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9 hours ago, Wheeldog said:

The campground is on Lake Mohave (Cottonwood Cove) were at least 90% empty once our group left there might have been 4 sites taken up in the whole place . There were 10 or 12 of us on the lower campground near the lake. We took a walk and found 1 tent in the upper. Don't see how they can help but loose money. I didn't want to stay a week.......only wanted to stay 2 days, so it doesn't matter how long the pass was good for.

The reason I mention Gates of the Arctic if for exactly what you said. No fees and their is staff there. It's a drain on the National Park system. Don't know what your definition of "minimal staff" is, but there is a ranger station in Bettles and Coldfoot. With no roads in the park they have to fly everywhere. Don't know how much you know about the Alaska bush, but it is extremely expensive to live there. Where does the money come from to pay them and their transportation? Could this park be one of the reasons they need money? Then there is Kobuk Valley and ANWR which is the same deal as Gates of the Arctic. How much money do you think the go through with no return?

My solution is each park needs to fund itself through the entry fees they already have. I am sure the busy places like Yellowstone and Denali generate enough money to keep themselves running. If a park can't support itself then it needs to be shut down or at least closed during the slow season. Every government agency says it is broke. When was the last time you heard one had enough money? Sorry, I just don't buy their sob story.

You seem to be under the impression that the National Park Service only exists to provide recreational opportunities. If you look into what they actually are charged with in total, the protection of sensitive ecosystems and historical preservation are also parts of their mission, and those efforts don't necessarily lend themselves to fee generation that would be self supporting. Biscayne National Park in Florida is a good example of that, where a major portion of the park is under water and the corral reefs the service is charged with protecting are popular with boaters and divers. How would you suggest they collect fees from those folks that arrive by boat? I don't know what the ecology is at Gates of the Arctic, but it's entirely possible that wide spread recreational use is at odds with preservation of the ecology. The bottom line is that it's likely not possible or practical for the National Park Service to be entirely self supporting without drastically raising fees at the popular parks, and sharing those funds with the protected areas that do not generate significant funds. The national park system serves all of us, not just those that actively visit them.

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5 minutes ago, Wheeldog said:

They need to work within their means (fees they are already collecting). No matter how much money they get they will always need more.

You've repeated this a couple of times now. You have made it clear that you think $10 per night is about right for you to camp. I don't believe that is enough to maintain campgrounds in a usable condition, so the choice is to either close them up, or raise additional revenue somehow.

The campground that you stayed in had roads, camping sites, a dump station, a couple of restrooms, dumpsters and  a water system correct?? And at least some level of staffing whether there at the site or somewhere else. That costs plenty of money to maintain whether you'd like to believe that or not. 

And if you go to the busier parks like Rocky Mountain NP or Yellowstone their infrastructure and staffing needs are enormous. Yet Moraine Campground in Rocky Mountain NP is charging $26 for a campsite, for which you and many others would pay $13 because of the pass system. 

Something has got to give, unless you really want to just lock the gates on most of them.

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Some may be interested in the NPS 2018 budget request. Here are a few highlights:

"The NPS FY 2018 discretionary budget request of $2.6 billion is $296.6 million below the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution."

" Since FY 2011, the NPS workforce has decreased by more than 2,300 FTE (11 percent). Over the same period, visitation has climbed to record-high levels..."

The -$168.1 million in targeted decreases proposed includes...-$4.0 million reduction for Volunteers in Parks,..."

 

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8 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

You've repeated this a couple of times now. You have made it clear that you think $10 per night is about right for you to camp. I don't believe that is enough to maintain campgrounds in a usable condition, so the choice is to either close them up, or raise additional revenue somehow.

The campground that you stayed in had roads, camping sites, a dump station, a couple of restrooms, dumpsters and  a water system correct?? And at least some level of staffing whether there at the site or somewhere else. That costs plenty of money to maintain whether you'd like to believe that or not. 

And if you go to the busier parks like Rocky Mountain NP or Yellowstone their infrastructure and staffing needs are enormous. Yet Moraine Campground in Rocky Mountain NP is charging $26 for a campsite, for which you and many others would pay $13 because of the pass system. 

Something has got to give, unless you really want to just lock the gates on most of them.

If that is correct then how does BLM let thousands camp for free or charge $40 for 2 weeks / $180 for 6 months with the use of dump/water/garbage and not go broke? Somehow they figured it out.

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28 minutes ago, Dutch_12078 said:

You seem to be under the impression that the National Park Service only exists to provide recreational opportunities. If you look into what they actually are charged with in total, the protection of sensitive ecosystems and historical preservation are also parts of their mission, and those efforts don't necessarily lend themselves to fee generation that would be self supporting. Biscayne National Park in Florida is a good example of that, where a major portion of the park is under water and the corral reefs the service is charged with protecting are popular with boaters and divers. How would you suggest they collect fees from those folks that arrive by boat? I don't know what the ecology is at Gates of the Arctic, but it's entirely possible that wide spread recreational use is at odds with preservation of the ecology. The bottom line is that it's likely not possible or practical for the National Park Service to be entirely self supporting without drastically raising fees at the popular parks, and sharing those funds with the protected areas that do not generate significant funds. The national park system serves all of us, not just those that actively visit them.

In Alaska it is mostly a land grab by environmentalists to keep from oil exploration. Park service even admits it. As I just mentioned BLM has some of the same responsibilities and offers free camping.  How can they do it and the park service can't?

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10 hours ago, Wheeldog said:

...My solution is each park needs to fund itself through the entry fees they already have. I am sure the busy places like Yellowstone and Denali generate enough money to keep themselves running....

This is the most recent Yellowstone budget I could find. "Fiscal Year 2016 (in millions), Total: $91.4, Fees: $24.4"

So,  Fees would have to increase by about 3.75 times to cover the cost for the park.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Wheeldog said:

...BLM has some of the same responsibilities and offers free camping.  How can they do it and the park service can't?...

One reason is likely that BLM is permitted to lease land for mineral extraction, grazing, etc.; that provides revenue from sources other than recreational visitors.

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26 minutes ago, Wheeldog said:

If that is correct then how does BLM let thousands camp for free or charge $40 for 2 weeks / $180 for 6 months with the use of dump/water/garbage and not go broke? Somehow they figured it out.

I hope that you recognize that there is no such thing as "free" camping. You do, right??  It is being paid for somehow, and obviously not from the proceeds of the free camping!!!!!  What they "figured out" is how to pay for it from other sources.

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2 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

What they "figured out" is how to pay for it from other sources.

And just like the NPS, one of those revenue sources is called taxes, most from income tax or deficit spending. The government has no money except what they take from citizens in some manner. But this is my last response to the discussion as it is becoming much too close to being political for me. We were addressing ways to fund the parks but this has become an argument. 

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One thing to keep in mind is many things we pay for some way or the other so it will be there and available for our future use or our childrens future use.  If we don't at least do something to sustain it at least minimumaly it won't be there at all.  In another example I want to pay for a hospital to be there in case I need it although I would rather not use it at all.  The same applies to fire departments, police departments, the military, etc.  I want them there and ready but I sure would like to see them bored from disuse except for training.  Heck I even want to pay for and receive good government what ever the size as needed.

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6 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

The campground that you stayed in had roads, camping sites, a dump station, a couple of restrooms, dumpsters and  a water system correct?? And at least some level of staffing whether there at the site or somewhere else. That costs plenty of money to maintain whether you'd like to believe that or not. 

We once stopped at a private campground to dump tanks after we had been boondocking. They charged us $20 to dump. When I questioned that price the owner said he knew what it cost him to have those septic tanks pumped out.

Linda Sand

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You know I am done with this conversation. I am not going to convince you how the parks are just pulling the wool over your eyes. Nobody on here is going to convince me that the rate increases are necessary. We need to respectfully to disagree on this subject.   What I will say is this. If you truly believe the national parks need the extra money.....then throw your discount card away. Don't use them any more. Pay the full price for using the National Parks. How many of you are willing to do this???

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You don't need to convince me of anything and I don't need to convince you of anything. We are just having a conversation and in general many of us are stating what we know based on personal experience for what it is worth.  So many of us here have volunteered or actually worked in the systems that we know some stuff.  At the same time we could point out places that funds are wasted. I could do the same based on my years associated with the military or even some insight on the Circus I once worked for. How would you like to hear about the person that left large buckets of human poop in the bearproof cans that had to be dealt with as hazardous waste.  How about the folks that blew the hell out of about $1500. worth of brand new door and ruined it plus did some damage on the inside.  I am not trying to belittle anyone but I think so many have not got a clue. In some cases I have been one of those people until I learned personally.

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This is all about a 7 day for $70 proposal for a small group of parks and only during the busy season.

One can also purchase the Interagency Pass - America the Beautiful for $80 which covers all the national parks and national wildlife areas for one full year.  So for $10 more you could use it all year and perhaps use it many times for nearby not-so-popular parks.  This annual pass is also good for day use to national forests, BLM and COE.  If you planned your vacations right you could use it for two summer vacations - take it in August one year and in July the next.  That's two years for $80.

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2gypsies, your point is really good about the $80 interagency pass and I would be willing to bet a small insignificant amount of money that many people will opt for that choice if it is explained to them well.

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10 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

This is all about a 7 day for $70 proposal for a small group of parks and only during the busy season.

One can also purchase the Interagency Pass - America the Beautiful for $80 which covers all the national parks and national wildlife areas for one full year.  So for $10 more you could use it all year and perhaps use it many times for nearby not-so-popular parks.  This annual pass is also good for day use to national forests, BLM and COE.  If you planned your vacations right you could use it for two summer vacations - take it in August one year and in July the next.  That's two years for $80.

What is lost is the fact that to most people it is $70 for ONE day.  They have one day for that park, and don't plan on staying for a whole week because they have X vacation days, plus it was a BIG jump.  NPS should have been gradually raising the price over the years.    

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1 hour ago, 2gypsies said:

RE: Tour Buses   

I had not seen that. Thanks! 

2 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

What is lost is the fact that to most people it is $70 for ONE day.

I would point back to my suggestion that they introduce a 3 day pass of something on the order of  $40 and perhaps a 1 day pass for perhaps $20.

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THe announcement of this proposal was posted on this forum in October along with a link to the proposal and a call for comments. I hope folks took the time to comment. There are currently  proposals working through Congress that would use gas and oil revenue from federal lands and offshore leases to help maintain the National Parks. Here is a link to one specific piece of legislation. I hope folks will contact their representatives in the House and Senate to express their views and ideas.

Edited by trailertraveler

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thanks to some storm damage hey 49 is shut down at the 120 south to bear valley ( wide spot in the rd north of

--even after it is open again keep your rvs off this area of hwy.--

so i detoured through yosemite. 

OUCH!  $25.usd for a motorbike with one person.

none stop just had to get someplace else.

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