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Old 12-28-2008, 04:04 PM   #15
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I don't know whether Colorado state parks have more or fewer campers since they started raising fees in the last decade. The couple of Colo. parks I've been to are very nice. The nicer ones are full all summer. We went to a few Kentucky parks several years ago and not only were they very nice, but free to enter! We camped at an Oregon state park last Sept. and it was very nice. We stayed at a Utah SP in October and it was nice and if you paid for camping, no entry fee. I can't say that about Colorado or Oregon. When you pay for a campsite and entry, it almost the same amount as a private campground and you're more likely to get wifi and full hookups. I've always believed parks are too important not to be free to all. Yeh, I know they're aren't really free because we all pay taxes to support them, but I don't mind supporting parks that way.

The national parks are another story. Fees have been raised consistently in recent years. For example, I don't live far from Black Canyon NP. It used to be a national monument, but the local and state tourism people wanted to make it a NP to promote business and several years ago it was changed, though additional funding is never included when that's done. The Black Canyon is nice to look at, but it's a one trick park unlike the older national parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc. Every year recently the fees go up. Right now it's $15 and I think it goes up again in 2009. The North Rim which has a small "visitor center" (really a rangerless ranger station) that I've never seen open, a primitive campground and a several mile drive along the rim. The South Rim has a longer drive and a real visitor center. I don't remember if it has a campground. The fee for the North Rim is the same, though there's no one collecting it. I doubt anyone ever goes to the ranger station to pay it.

Compare that with Yellowstone which is $25 right now. We spent a week at Yellowstone a couple of years ago and didn't see everything. Black Canyon NP is good for a couple of hours.

I think in the west coast states there are admission fees for some national forests. It's difficult for tourists to figure out which ones and my email questions to the FS never get me answer I can understand. I think I was told to check with the local ranger station. How would I easily find out where that was? It's just not worth the time to find out something that should be simple when there are so many things to see. Several years ago there were stories about people being ticketed for stopping alongside a state highway while within forest boundaries. All the parking areas alongside Oak Creek north of Sedona, Ariz., had a fee years ago, but it was difficult to actually pay it since one had to drive many miles to a federal visitor center to get a permit. The parking areas were almost entirely empty. Maybe they've fixed that. One time in the '90's we were at the south end of Canyonlands NP to go hiking and camping. We were willing to get a permit, but couldn't find anywhere open on a weekend within 50 miles. We were pretty far into 4wd territory when we saw a NP truck and were asked where our permit was. I pointed out there was nowhere to get one and so they wrote one up for us. At least they didn't give us a ticket. Since it's hard to figure out what forests in the west coast states have fees, we just avoid them. The fees for forest and BLM facilities are hated out west because people stay away. Tourism groups know this reduces business in towns dependent on public lands, but little has been done about it except more fees. When we see certain industries being favored and resources being diverted from tourism and recreation, people get pretty angry. The federal govt has never been too popular around here and this has made it even less so.

With high fees, state and national parks are not always competitive and the fees ignore the benefits parks provide society as a whole.

Why would a family stop at one of these smaller parks? It's economically foolish for what you get. I guess people have figured that out because attendance at the NP's has been falling for several years. Even with the substantially increased fees, maintenance at the parks keeps falling farther and farther behind. The present administration promised years ago to increase maintenance, but didn't do much. The state parks are competing with national forests and BLM lands. While there are fees in a lot of places, there's still a lot that is free and there are some reasonably priced campgrounds. Back when I was a lot younger, we used to avoid all the fees and camp in the wilderness. I think a lot of people do the same now, many more so.

Since I have a Golden Age pass, I don't have to pay to get in. When we go to a smaller NP, mostly everyone seems to be old. I expect that younger people never get the benefit of most of the parks and national monuments because of the excessive fees. If they are traveling on a big, expensive trip, they will pass by the smaller parks and concentrate on the major ones. After a while they don't want to support the parks and attendance further drops. Then fees are increased again and fewer people go. They do go to the Yellowstones because they are truly amazing to see. They might have gone to the lesser known parks instead if the fees were less. The result is that the Yellowstones get even more crowded. I think a lot of families get priced out.

With an economic recovery plan being developed, I would like to see something like the WPA and CCC recreated to fix up the public lands including the national parks and monuments. In the 1930's these places were modernized for the times by the WPA and CCC. If you visit these parks you still see the results of those projects, though they have been poorly maintained. If you are going to charge fees to visit, at least maintain the places properly. It was done by the feds in state parks too—in Ky. we stayed at a cabin built by the CCC. It had been maintained by the state and was very nice. It's a lot cheaper for a govt program to do it than hire private contractors.


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Old 12-28-2008, 04:10 PM   #16
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Massive Surge In Municipal Bankruptcies Coming

I believe 2009 will make 2008 look like a cake walk when it comes to many businesses going bankrupt, states and cities to follow. Of course our federal government is already there.

Massive Surge In Municipal Bankruptcies Coming

I found this link in the above link very disconcerting:

Double dipping rises despite outrage

...Miami Dade Community College president Eduardo Padron collected $893,286 in a lump-sum retirement benefit in 2006 and began collecting $14,631 a month in retirement pay in addition to his annual salary of $441,538.....

Maybe there's a reason higher education is unaffordable for the regular people out there.

I don't have the link this second but I read that those in the know won't be surprised to see 25% of the retailers in this country out of business by the end of the first quarter next year. Many will be filing once this holiday shopping season comes to an end if it ever started.

I've already told my uncle and others I work with, don't be surprised to see a middle eastern or Indian or a China man taking your ticket at any one of our national parks inn the near future. When they don't show up to buy our bonds that we are issuing to pay for all these bailouts our government will have to offer something for sale that they will want to buy!

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Old 12-28-2008, 05:16 PM   #17
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Crawford Gene said:

"With high fees, state and national parks are not always competitive and the fees ignore the benefits parks provide society as a whole."

Part of the problem is the constant law suits filed by environmental groups that tie up resources for years and years. Granted, some of the suits may be justified, but generally they are part of an agenda that is designed to see the total ban of motorized (read carbon user) vehicles on public lands. Several years ago, the BLM/USFS went to CD's for Environmental Impact Statements to save on paper. When asked for a couple of EIS's for a project in the San Juan NF, I handed the lady a couple of CD's. She demanded the paper copies (at least 2" thick) and I made the remark, "I wonder how many trees were cut to print these statements". I took a lot of heat as she filed a written report with the forest supervisor regarding my attitude.

Having plowed four feet of snow this week, I need to call algore for an update on the global warming situation.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:28 PM   #18
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Having been involved in following and authorizing environmental lawsuits, I know that many are not about motorized use of public lands, but about violations of water, air and other federal laws. A lot of times the EIS's or EA's are written by consultants who have an economic interest in approving everything. They are hired by the resource extraction companies and know they won't be hired again if they find against them. Scientific findings by gov't employees are reversed by political appointees. The environmental groups usually win and even judges appointed by conservative presidents rule against the gov't frequently. If the feds would obey their own laws, there would be a lot fewer lawsuits.

I don't know anyone in various environmental organizations who wants a "total ban" on motorized use. Yes, we want some restrictions so others can use the resource. I have been on parts of the Grand Mesa NF where 4 wheelers (the small off road type) have blazed roads wherever they want destroying habitat and muddying water supplies. Oftentimes hunting and fishing groups are suing the feds for these reasons. Off road groups routinely file lawsuits against the gov't and no one seems to mention those suits.


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