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Old 11-07-2019, 08:10 PM   #41
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I've found most state parks and national parks to be well-run and the rangers and staff responsive.

I strongly prefer that public parks remain in public hands and managed by public servants.

The privatization I have seen — in Yosemite, but elsewhere, too — has been disappointing.

Keep public parks — assets that belong to all of us — in public hands and under public management.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:21 AM   #42
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Bill - Not two separate things. Both are for profit and are not focused on preserving and protecting our National Park Resources. Money needed to provide those essential services and harden park infrastructure is moved to private purpose.

Disneyland - Fort Wilderness Campground - examples of the exciting recreational environment that private enterprise is capable of producing and delivering to the public for their enjoyment, at a price.

Our National Parks - examples of the wonder of what nature and history offers for the enjoyment of the public, if they are preserved and protected, currently at an affordable cost.

Bill - Your point is not without merit. Any system can be made to work. However, what is being proposed is the wrong system for our NPS.

Pat
Anything belonging to everyone is ignored by everyone.
The greatest proof of it was the the collapse of agriculture when farms were colectivised by the communist. Once thriving farms producing surplus food for export in Eastern Europe couldn't feed themselves.
Everyone went fishing and received equal share at the end of the year until no one was doing anything.
I take privat enterprise with profit motive to manage enterprises over government any day.
I grew up in communist Hungary. I don't want any part of collectivism and at the end of the day that is what government is.
BTW, our most favorite place to camp is Disney's Fort Wilderness. I am amazed how beautifully well organized it is.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:58 AM   #43
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Anything belonging to everyone is ignored by everyone.
The greatest proof of it was the the collapse of agriculture when farms were colectivised by the communist. Once thriving farms producing surplus food for export in Eastern Europe couldn't feed themselves.
Everyone went fishing and received equal share at the end of the year until no one was doing anything.
I take privat enterprise with profit motive to manage enterprises over government any day.
I grew up in communist Hungary. I don't want any part of collectivism and at the end of the day that is what government is.
BTW, our most favorite place to camp is Disney's Fort Wilderness. I am amazed how beautifully well organized it is.
I completley agree on the idea that collectivism is terrible. Possibly the most dangerous state of mind a human can come to. However collective farming and collective public lands can hardly be compared. Were not out to make a profit from nature. Nature is capable of self regulating and nature shouldn't be monetized or ran for profit.

Im quite amazed at all the negative comments here about poorly ran parks. I'm sure there's a few places and a few times people have come across some full potties. However. There is no doubt in my eyes that the United States has possibly the best ran parks in the world. My personal experience tells me this. And the experience of all the people who have visited me in the US over the years and go out of their way to tell me so tends to clarify it.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:54 PM   #44
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If the NPs still establish the rules but let private contractor run the place it is a win win in my opinion. Maybe they would then stay open during government shut downs.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:56 PM   #45
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I don't see the need for more extraneous services like wifi, food trucks, or other entertainment. Maybe they feel the need to attract more millennials.


The parks are over $11 billion behind in deferred maintenance. Would be nice to see some of the profits generated by visitors go back into improvements...regardless of who runs the parks. The campgrounds were designed for tent campers and tear drop trailers and make it hard for todays RVs to fit in a space. The parks were never designed to accommodate the influx of people that visit now.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:54 PM   #46
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I read the article. I think we are naive if we think that privatized campgrounds will allow us seniors to pay half price on anything. If campgrounds are privatized, the fees will go up, the discount will go away, and we will be SOL. Private companies are there to make money. It will not come out of my pocket. So....I guess I am against privatization. For these obvious reasons.

Recent stays at federally administered campgrounds were lovely: Rio Grande Del Norte, New Mexico, Cochiti Lake (Army Corps of Engineers), Abiquiu Lake (also ACE) .......They were all well taken care of, and supplied water, power, and clean restrooms. Go figure! The feds did a great job. No need to privatize.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:07 PM   #47
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If the NPs still establish the rules but let private contractor run the place it is a win win in my opinion. Maybe they would then stay open during government shut downs.
There's been 3 shut downs in 23 years. Hardly a camping crisis!!!
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:21 PM   #48
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I read the article. I think we are naive if we think that privatized campgrounds will allow us seniors to pay half price on anything. If campgrounds are privatized, the fees will go up, the discount will go away, and we will be SOL. Private companies are there to make money. It will not come out of my pocket. So....I guess I am against privatization. For these obvious reasons.



Recent stays at federally administered campgrounds were lovely: Rio Grande Del Norte, New Mexico, Cochiti Lake (Army Corps of Engineers), Abiquiu Lake (also ACE) .......They were all well taken care of, and supplied water, power, and clean restrooms. Go figure! The feds did a great job. No need to privatize.


I don’t see privatize as giving the national parks to a private organization to do what they want (i.e. increase pricing). I see it as the government having private enterprises bid to a specification and operating according to government rules and regulations. I know it is debatable, but I see it lowering costs while providing the same or better services.
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:39 PM   #49
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We have stayed at many 'privatized' USFS campgrounds, for the most part there is a lot of room for improvement. Won't mention names of concessionaires but in WY, MT, SD, ND,and ID things are run mostly by one single concessionaire - monopolize the market - control the market - set prices that are not really reasonable. 21 dollars for a one night stay with no water or electric, with garbage service limited. USFS use to run these campgrounds, guess they are too busy with other important things. Worked BWCAW trail crew for USFS years ago, now they contract that out as well - point is still spend same or more money with more people doing lower quality work. No, or little, pride in job I guess.
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:54 PM   #50
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We have stayed at many 'privatized' USFS campgrounds, for the most part there is a lot of room for improvement. Won't mention names of concessionaires but in WY, MT, SD, ND,and ID things are run mostly by one single concessionaire - monopolize the market - control the market - set prices that are not really reasonable. 21 dollars for a one night stay with no water or electric, with garbage service limited. USFS use to run these campgrounds, guess they are too busy with other important things. Worked BWCAW trail crew for USFS years ago, now they contract that out as well - point is still spend same or more money with more people doing lower quality work. No, or little, pride in job I guess.


I don’t think $21 is out of the ordinary. We just paid $20 per night at a campground in the White River National Forest and we were tent camping. There were no services, just a fire ring and a bear box.
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:57 PM   #51
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Who runs Parks Canada campgrounds? I’ve been to a number of places up north and have had very pleasant experiences (both primitive camping, and with amenities). If the US NP service could replicate that to some extent, I’d be open with regards to method.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:28 PM   #52
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Who runs Parks Canada campgrounds? I’ve been to a number of places up north and have had very pleasant experiences (both primitive camping, and with amenities). If the US NP service could replicate that to some extent, I’d be open with regards to method.
The Canadian Federal gov. manages all federal parks,while all Provincial are managed by each province.
I don't know how all the other provinces work,but here in BC most are maintained by private contractors which has caused all our camping fees rise as all operators "bid" on contracts for various parks.
All I can say as a long time resident and camper in BC is that the rates keep going up and the services and amenities go down.
The average nice park in BC with no hookups but washrooms with showers will set you back at least $32 to $36 and reservations will add another $6 per night with firewood extra.
Also in BC,being a major destination for rental companies makes it very hard for the average family to plan ahead for reservations 3 months out because of block reservations by the rental outfitters.
It's the same problem here as everywhere else.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:47 PM   #53
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My turn.

Before I move on to the National Park System, Fort Wilderness at Disney World. We stayed at Fort Wilderness in February, 2018 for a week. Took a bunch of folks with us. Kids, grand kids, and a few friends in two campers. We paid over $100 per night per campsite (I think $112, but can't remember exactly). By far the most expensive "camping" we have experienced. Honestly, I don't understand why people rave about Disney Camping. The sites were small and very difficult to access. The loop we were on was poorly laid out and very difficult to back into. Sites were too close together and the road was very narrow. We were lucky in the sense that the people in the site across from us happened to be in their campsite when we arrived. I would have never been able to get into my site if he hadn't volunteered to move his TV. Disney will never get another dime of my money. Sorry, Mickey.

We have never stayed in a National Park proper in the camper. We've visited many, but not with the Airstream. Someday.........

We did camp in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Sept 2014. Weird place. It's a NRA that I've wanted to visit since I was a kid. It's on the Kentucky/Tennessee border on the western end of the two states. The park is beautiful. I was surprised by the abundance of varied plants/trees, etc in the area that are so different from the rest of the Southeastern US. Loved the visit there and hope to go back again someday. Was absolutely not what I was expecting is a very good way.

You know there's a "but" coming, right? The camping loops are, well, strange. When we arrived, we had to pick a campsite (couldn't reserve a specific site in those days). I pointed to the map, how about that one? Without hesitation, No, is use. That one? No, in use. The campground volunteers manning the front gate seem to know a lot off the top of their collective aging heads. Hummmm. That was my first clue. We finally got a site and it was not bad. Nothing spectacular, but it worked well for our needs. Next day we decided to take a drive thru the campground.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:01 PM   #54
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We figured out in about 10 nanoseconds why the volunteers at the gate were so familiar with the open campsites and the "in use" campsites. At least half of the sites had campers on them that clearly hadn't moved in years. Let me state this again for effect "hadn't moved in years."

There were semi-permanent structures built next to them that the camper's owners had clearly thrown up. Think make-shift stairs and decks. Small outbuildings. Old chairs piled up next to trees. Spent gas cylinders. Get the picture? Looked like something from The Grapes of Wrath. I simply could not believe what I was seeing. This is, after all, a National Park built for all of us to use, right? Seems that some folks are more important than the rest of us?

Point of my long rant should be obvious. Doesn't matter who's managing the place if corruption on this scale is going on. Maybe some managers (regardless who's sending them the paycheck) need to find another job. Disgusting.

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Old 11-10-2019, 12:54 PM   #55
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The only alternative to communism is not capitalism without any rules. Also, communism was actually state capitalism with one owner, the state, and the state was run by a dictator. This is not what Karl Marx envisioned, but that is what happened. Socialism is not communism and exists in many forms in many countries, including this one. Municipal campgrounds, common in the midwest especially, are socialism. Municipal power plants and garbage collection, police and fire, is socialism. Social Security is socialism. Some things work better if run by the government. Some things work better if heavily regulated by the government like utilities—they are usually things that there is only one company or very few, like electric and water companies, cable and the rest. If unregulated they will raise prices and many people will be unable to pay.

Concessionaires in National Parks have a long history of providing minimal services at high prices. The Parks do not seem to want to watch them carefully or just consider it a necessary evil. The Park employees seem more interested in the park itself than the concessions. Since rangers follow that occupation because they are outdoors people interested in the environment, they seem to have a weak spot where it comes to managing the concessions. We have stayed at both hotels and campgrounds in some parks and eaten in even more. The CG's are sometimes crowded and poorly organized. Giant RV's next to tents are not a good mix. The hotels can be poorly maintained and expensive. For example, the Lake Hotel at Yellowstone looked like some of the columns would collapse from rot years ago—I guess they didn't fall down or we would heard about it. Sometimes the food is good, too often not. Cabins are very minimal with doubles having paper thin walls (a cabin on Grand Canyon's North Rim some years ago had walls so thin I could literally hear the people on the other side turning the pages in a newspaper). Roads are deteriorating. The activities that used to be common in NP's no longer exist because there are fewer rangers than ever before. Most FS money seems to go to fire fighting. I still get a discount on stays in a FS CG, but I believe the electric option is full price, but the rest of the campsite is half price (not really sure how they calculate it but the result is much higher fees). Since the hosts are employees of a private company, some (certainly not all) seem to have a bad attitude. Mostly they are invisible—that's usually fine with me. Sometimes the hosts' site is the messiest of all. The Senior card has gone from $0 to $10 to $80 (how many are they selling now?). One party has controlled park, forest and BLM budgets most of the time for the last four decades. That is exactly the time when infrastructure was ignored, admission prices and senior cards have increased dramatically and more stuff has been privatized. Public Lands used to be taken much better care of. Now we have people running things who want to sell or give away public lands and charge more and more for the use of them.

We do not have the best parks in the world. I hAve been to many Canadian ones and they are better run. The idea was an American one, but we are abandoning that idea.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:26 PM   #56
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The only alternative to communism is not capitalism without any rules. Also, communism was actually state capitalism with one owner, the state, and the state was run by a dictator. This is not what Karl Marx envisioned, but that is what happened. Socialism is not communism and exists in many forms in many countries, including this one. Municipal campgrounds, common in the midwest especially, are socialism. Municipal power plants and garbage collection, police and fire, is socialism. Social Security is socialism. Some things work better if run by the government. Some things work better if heavily regulated by the government like utilities—they are usually things that there is only one company or very few, like electric and water companies, cable and the rest. If unregulated they will raise prices and many people will be unable to pay.

Concessionaires in National Parks have a long history of providing minimal services at high prices. The Parks do not seem to want to watch them carefully or just consider it a necessary evil. The Park employees seem more interested in the park itself than the concessions. Since rangers follow that occupation because they are outdoors people interested in the environment, they seem to have a weak spot where it comes to managing the concessions. We have stayed at both hotels and campgrounds in some parks and eaten in even more. The CG's are sometimes crowded and poorly organized. Giant RV's next to tents are not a good mix. The hotels can be poorly maintained and expensive. For example, the Lake Hotel at Yellowstone looked like some of the columns would collapse from rot years ago—I guess they didn't fall down or we would heard about it. Sometimes the food is good, too often not. Cabins are very minimal with doubles having paper thin walls (a cabin on Grand Canyon's North Rim some years ago had walls so thin I could literally hear the people on the other side turning the pages in a newspaper). Roads are deteriorating. The activities that used to be common in NP's no longer exist because there are fewer rangers than ever before. Most FS money seems to go to fire fighting. I still get a discount on stays in a FS CG, but I believe the electric option is full price, but the rest of the campsite is half price (not really sure how they calculate it but the result is much higher fees). Since the hosts are employees of a private company, some (certainly not all) seem to have a bad attitude. Mostly they are invisible—that's usually fine with me. Sometimes the hosts' site is the messiest of all. The Senior card has gone from $0 to $10 to $80 (how many are they selling now?). One party has controlled park, forest and BLM budgets most of the time for the last four decades. That is exactly the time when infrastructure was ignored, admission prices and senior cards have increased dramatically and more stuff has been privatized. Public Lands used to be taken much better care of. Now we have people running things who want to sell or give away public lands and charge more and more for the use of them.

We do not have the best parks in the world. I hAve been to many Canadian ones and they are better run. The idea was an American one, but we are abandoning that idea.


I’m about to turn 62 and I can get the Senior card. Assuming I do this for 10 years, I will have spent $8 per year. As for payback, I just visited 3 NPs this past year, plus it provides me with free biking at a local Corp of Engineers area. My payback is one year!
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:04 PM   #57
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No, you have been paying for years and years. Every time you send in your taxes, pay a fee, or vote for good people, you contribute to the success of the service and their objectives. You are never going to have payback, but the experience will be priceless if you have the taste for NPs and the associated beauty of nature. Enjoy! Pat
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:38 PM   #58
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For those of you unfamiliar with the unofficial (but hilarious) rules of formal debate on these here forums, you might want to check out this thread.

#11 is still missing from the discussion. Although we did get close.

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Old Yesterday, 01:01 AM   #59
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Hey Boomer!!

I invoke China right now. China did it!

But back to the OP.

Being a boomer, I first visited Yosemite National Park in 1964. I still have a brochure from that trip and I've included scans of the cover and the "Where to Stay in the Park" section to illustrate what I'm going to say.

Being a boomer, I remember that our national parks were considered the property of the people. The National Park Service was the custodian overseeing the park's administration, but the park was yours. So the campgrounds were free. Hotels and restaurants were operated by a private concessionaire, the Yosemite Park and Curry Company, and if you chose to patronize them, you paid what they asked. But of government operated facilities, you paid nothing.

Heck, here you go, from floor debate July, 1964 on H. R. 3846, an appropriations bill for the NPS: "I do not believe the people of the United States want fees to be charged...to go onto land that they already own", said Representative Jack Westland of Washington.

Well, Representative Westland was out voted and H. R. 3846 became Public Law 88-578, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965. Among other fees, the Act granted authority to charge campground fees for NPS campgrounds, which under legislation passed in 1929 and 1930 was previously prohibited. 1964 was the last year of free campgrounds at Yosemite.

We are still sliding down that slippery slope towards a brave new world of national parks managed as profit centers with only lip service paid to the mandates of preservation for future generations and equal access for all citizens.

I am opposed to privatization of the common wealth. I fully expect my Senior Pass to be honored in the future according to the terms under which I purchased it, like any other contract.

Please feel free to click on the images below so that you can read how it was in Yosemite National Park, summer of 1964.

Burnside

Book on history of fees within NPS: https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/onli...osh3/feest.htm
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Old Yesterday, 06:32 AM   #60
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. . .
We are still sliding down that slippery slope towards a brave new world of national parks managed as profit centers with only lip service paid to the mandates of preservation for future generations and equal access for all citizens.

I am opposed to privatization of the common wealth.
. . .
Well said . . .

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