Originally Posted by Mike Leary
No wonder the Parks are claiming financial problems; no one goes there anymore.
I don't know if that's true. Last year, the parks were doing very well because they were cheaper than private CG's and for the usual reasons—nice destinations. This year it appears fees have gone up, perhaps a lot. Because some states have closed a lot of parks, some business will go to other parks and some to private CG's. I Googled 2010 state and national park attendance for this year and there were some reports of increased attendance, but there wasn't much information.
When we were at one of the CG's on Grand Mesa a couple of weeks ago, the fees were $20 for a site plus $4 for electricity. We paid half price for the site since I have a senior pass, so our price was $14/night. Add in $9 for the reservation. On the weekend, the place was full, pretty close on a weekday. Years ago—1970's—the site would have been $6 and no electricity. The site would have been less improved, but adequate. It may not have been as large for a 25' trailer and a full size pickup, but I had a tent and a Honda Civic then. I didn't have a senior pass (if I did, I'd be 100 now).
National Park admission fees are far, far higher than they were 20 years ago. Even at parks with fees years ago, a lot of times no one collected them. Attendance in the several years before the Great Recession at national parks was down but was up last year. The increased fees seem to have cut attendance until last year, especially at the less popular parks. For example, Black Canyon NP now costs $15/vehicle. This is a one trick park and should have been left a national monument, but was promoted to attract more tourism to the area. We live 10 miles from the primitive North Rim and it's the same price as the more attractive South Rim (I've never seen anyone collecting it at the North Rim). The South Rim has a visitor center, more CG sites and a better view of the Canyon. If I didn't have a senior pass, I'd never go there.
One other thing, when you apply inflation adjustment to fees years ago, you may find there's little difference in price. So a $6 camping fee in 1975 would be more than $23 now. I have compared gas prices in the 1940's, 1960's and now, and, adjusted for inflation, there's little or no difference. So maybe it's a question of perception and not reality.
I do remember paying 80˘ to 95˘ for dinner at the Community Diner in Bethlehem, Pa., and then getting a 10% discount because I was a regular while in college around 1960
. The indigestion was free.