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Old 06-01-2016, 04:54 PM   #15
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"Assertions that a $10 or $20 dollar day pass is a hardship ring hollow."


Spoken by someone who has likely never experienced real financial hardship, particularly as a family, kscherzi.

If you think those entrance fees don't keep some people out, you are simply wrong.

There may be a lot of international visitors, and others with plenty of money to spend, in our national parks, but there are also families that save and save and save, just to afford a day trip or a couple of overnights in a tent.

Others who might enjoy the parks, and showing our national wonders to their children, simply don't have the available cash to pay for fuel and entrance fees to do so.

We can argue this, but I know that I am right.

And, I'm not saying there should be no entrance fees.


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Old 06-01-2016, 05:15 PM   #16
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To put things in perspective, the sale of guns and ammo contribute 11% to the federal government via excise taxes. Archery is 11% and fishing gear is 10%. SUP's, kayaks, bicycles and camping gear excises taxes are zip. Since Airstreams are already overpriced, nobody would notice a 5% excise tax to go towards NPS and NFS campground maintainence. BTW, my tongue is only partially in my cheek!
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:24 PM   #17
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National & state parks used to be supported by (heaven forbid) taxes!
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:30 PM   #18
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Park Service Considers Visitor Caps

I of course agree that preservation is a critical component of what the National Park Service does. However, that's only part of it. It's also about ensuring enjoyment, education, inspiration, etc. So, to balance the two objectives most parks have heavily and scarcely visited areas. I would certainly agree that we're loving the heavily visited areas of our parks to death, though we may not agree on the cause. I blame severe and chronic under-funding. The percentage of the national budget dedicated to the NPS is so small as to be nearly invisible and that budget could be multiplied by as much as 10 before it would become an interesting bottom-line cost. But I won't go into details here because I don't want to stir a pointless and likely heated political debate.

Anyway, here are a couple of takes on the mission statement from NPS documents:

From https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/index.htm "The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world."

From an interesting document that is apparently handed out to VIPs (Volunteers In Park) at Mt Rainier NP (https://www.nps.gov/mora/getinvolved...20Handbook.doc).
"On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 40 national parks and monuments then in existence and those yet to be established.
"This 'Organic Act' of August 25, 1916, states that 'the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations . . . by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.'
"The National Park Service still strives to meet those original goals, while filling many other roles as well: guardian of our diverse cultural and recreational resources; environmental advocate; world leader in the parks and preservation community; and pioneer in the drive to protect America's open space."

The only visitors to our parks to whom I truly object are idiots and morons like the folks who got a bison calf killed by putting it in a car and taking it to a ranger station, those boneheads from "High On Life" who retreated across the border before LE Rangers in Yellowstone could arrest and fine them, and others who insist on "tagging" and ruining things of irreplaceable beauty.
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:35 PM   #19
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I don't understand how this is a budgetary issue. The Department of the Interior, which includes the National Park Service is generously funded. News of drastic budget cuts is largely a myth. NPS may have some difficulty related to the fact that every year new National Monuments are declared which take a piece of their pie. The budget cut propaganda is usually tied to cuts in the rate of increased spending. This year, the agency that I work for got more funding than they can spend. Many projects have been put into budget requests for many years, often with no real expectation that they'd ever be filled. All of a sudden, they're throwing money at anything they can, and project managers are finding their "extra" projects are funded. Now everyone is in a panic trying to figure out how to spend the money in short time periods that are allotted. I have no doubt that the NPS is in the same boat.

Money won't solve the problem that the NPS is trying to address. They are mandated to protect their resources and provide a quality visitor experience. They clearly have reached a saturation point of visitors in some parks at some times, and it is impacting resources. Spending more money on more parking lots, more roads, more campgrounds, more barriers, more buses, etc. detracts from a positive visitor experience that people come to the parks for, and negatively impacts their resources. That is definitely out of line with their mission.

The article tells me that they've concluded that they're going to have to limit the number of visitors in order to achieve their mission. I honestly feel sorry for the managers that are trying to work on this project. No matter what they do, it's going to be wildly unpopular and vilified. I agree with Maggie, raising entrance fees in order to keep those who cannot afford it out would be very wrong, and I don't think that it would get by the elected leadership. There are clearly no easy solutions. They may be forced to simply limit numbers of visitors in the park on any given day, or accept impacts to resources and quality of visitor experiences. Unfortunate options, regardless of whichever they choose.

For me, and many others that I know, the quality of the experience has already degraded to the point where I avoid National Parks except during the "off season". Old Faithful in July is just like a Rockies game in downtown Denver. I'll go elsewhere. Maybe if enough of us choose that option, the problem will solve itself....unlikely.
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:43 PM   #20
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We live right next door to the most visited national park in the United States - the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It averages 9 million visitors a year. There never has been an entrance fee to this park and there likely never will be. Why? Because a state highway cuts right through the middle of it. Although the park is huge most visitors don't venture far from the road and the many day hikes and waterfalls that are close by.

What's amazing is that - in spite of the number of visitors and lack of supporting fees - the park is pristine and low in crime and vandalism. Two large, successful charitable organizations have risen to the needs and volunteer time and money keep this park a remarkable place. It can be done if the stars align.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
Spoken by someone who has likely never experienced real financial hardship, particularly as a family, kscherzi.
Did you really need to say this? I don't know you and you don't know me. Let's keep the personal attacks at home please.

Regardless, I checked admission fees. Yosemite and a number of other larger parks recently raised them to $30 for a car, so a debate over the affordability of a $10 dollar admission fee is moot.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:09 PM   #22
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It's not at all personal.

I was simply correcting reality, responding to your statements, as you were responding to those made by others.

We're not going to agree, so shall we drop this?

I'm dropping this.


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Old 06-01-2016, 08:17 PM   #23
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There are simply too many people, and what might be exhilarating for some in downtown San Francisco or Los Angeles is depressing in Yosemite. It is absolutely necessary to limit the number of people visiting the park to a number where people can feel a sense of space around them, except perhaps inside the Yosemite Village stores. This should be able to be accomplished without requiring that people drive all the way to Yosemite and wait in line to find out if they can enter the Park. Visiting the Park should be a privilege that is equally accessible (or non-accessible) to all; not just those who can afford to outbid the others. For heaven's sake, they have had a lottery for years in California to determine who gets to hunt in which area, so that hunters aren't stumbling over each other, ruining the experience for all. Why can't a similar procedure be used for entrance into Yosemite?

I limit my comments to Yosemite, because I have a lot of experience with Yosemite, and very little with any other national park.


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Old 06-01-2016, 08:17 PM   #24
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I have to agree with Thalweg and see the merits of kfrere and volunteers.

I have known members of the National Park Service. Geologists, Archaeologists and Historians who actually discover their soul in protecting these sites and speaking to those who visit is an honor.

A small part of the general public have contempt for these places and become the locusts among the plants.

Park employees often live at facilities that are lacking most comforts of home and far from grocery and department stores. It may seem appealing to some of you, but dealing with people every day... it is not. Beginning your career you have stars in your eyes and want to protect these natural treasures, but the work is very demanding and 24 hours a day would not be enough time.

It is a choice of occupation and many wait the chance to move onto another NPS site with better accommodations for spouse and family.

The next closest opportunity to discover what the NPS has not... are Wilderness Areas. Not popular as access is difficult. The people who visit these areas are special. It is this remoteness that attracts them to these areas.

But once an area is designated 'special'... they will come. The crowds.

This is why Boondocking is so appealing to some. Many areas are too small to designate as a National Park or a designation not quite to National Park standards, but unique... yet unknown. Some places the access is too difficult or expensive to gain access. Natural History and Historical Sites are good examples.

Boondocking is an alternative. The Geology near a National Park contains similar wonders and examples no different, but in a smaller scale. Some times you can camp in between two major National Park Systems and have it all to yourself. But, YOU have to find these sites. Once the area is known... the crowds may come.

My wife asked me WHY RAY do you want to take people into areas that we found so beautiful and the lack of people? She knows I am totally disregarding those who enjoy these areas of difficult access and want to protect them by keeping these places, off the radar screen of the general public.

Maybe I will find that these groups seeking some Adventure are special and will protect the places we will be camped to enjoy the remoteness. If not. I, too, have failed to be responsible in protecting places I find special. Only time will tell and if I find myself the fool... it will be a lesson learned.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:40 PM   #25
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Do you know why Chaco Canyon is such a special place on my list of places?

Poor Access. It keeps the number of people down. Once the two roads are paved... everyone will want to come. The facilities will not be able to support the larger groups.

There are so many places that are on the 'places to see before I kick the bucket', as I cannot find them all. My 'Bucket List' of sorts will take a book to list each and every one.

Your Airstream can go places that may appear to be so remote, so far away... you avoid going. Learn to read a MAP. Yosemite monoliths are to be found, but in a personal size that you cannot disturb or wear down from climbing upon its surface.

It is not always the 'other guy' who is in your way... you are also the other guy. Take the least traveled route. Discover your 'own special places'. Return often and improve the area. It can be your own Personal Park. It needs no gift shop, flushing toilets or a nice parking lot, to view sites that at one time, had no name and no one paid attention.

"Give it a name... and they will come."

This is the common joke among geologists. It is true. Put up a sign next to the highway with a rest stop and give it a... name. If there is a parking spot available for those so fortunate to see this wonder of nature... all made up by a clever guy with a rock pick.

Try one of these Adventures some members on this forum may offer. It will not be pleasant every moment. There will be a price to pay. It is not free for the taking. You must earn it. But once there... it is all yours to enjoy and return every couple years and watch your kids grow up to take their families.

Special places are everywhere to be discovered. You will not find them sitting on the couch and needing a big sign at the entrance... to get your attention. Find the little sign along the road that says... Dead End.

You arrived. Enjoy it and keep it a secret.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:01 PM   #26
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I think it is good there is such interest in the parks. Think if it were the other way.

One thing I know, is that the vast majority of folks only see a small portion of the park. Usually the most popular busy section.

95% of the park is wide open to those who wish to adventure to it.

My family spent 4 days in Yellowstone last year and we never saw a sole. Not one person. We were packed out into the wilderness. Did the same in the Tetons. It's funny to come back down the trail from pure solitude to see so many tourists. They have no clue what they're missing.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:29 PM   #27
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Coming to Glacier NP during July/August? Don't plan on getting out of your vehicle. You might not find a parking spot. GNP is considering reservations for traveling "Going To the Sun" road, restricting RVs of ANY size (from The Road) and increasing shuttle service. High traffic /visitor volume isn't just hard on people, it's also stressful to wildlife.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:40 PM   #28
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While I don't favor visitor caps, I wonder what can be done to better manage the crowds in popular and precious areas or our parks. For example, last time in Yosemite we took the walk up to Yosemite Falls. Lots of people walking both ways on the boardwalk. Upon arrival must have been 100 or 200 people jumped the fence at the lookout and were scrambling up the base of the fall, climbing all over the place, trampling plants, rolling boulders, a veritable zoo. No opportunity to photograph the falls in its natural space. No opportunity to do much of anything than shoulder past the next guy. If this were a concert venue then I'd feel better about the crowding.

So what to do? I earlier suggested increasing fees. Not with the intent of sticking it to little guy to exclude them, but instead increasing resources to the Park Service who then may be able to do something to manage the crowds, like build more boardwalks and better fences, hire more rangers, or whatever. The point would be to improve the experience for all while preserving for future generations. This assumes the Park Service is underfunded and struggling, but reading earlier comments I guess that may still be up for debate. I value our park system and would be willing to dig deeper if that meant making a difference, but I gather too many people view them as their entitlement or believe its someones else's problem to fix.

My guess is that inertia will prevail. Crowding and under funding will accelerate, the thing that made these places special will eventually be ruined, and the rest of us will just choose to go somewhere else.
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