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Old 06-02-2016, 10:56 AM   #43
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Regarding the mandatory Zion shuttles, I found them disappointing. I parked my rig outside the park (too big), and rode my moto into the park, plan for the day as to clothes (layers needed), water shoes, water, snacks. I take the bike as to see the vertical sights that one doesn't normally see in a cage.
So I jammed into a bus, jerking along in auto, shifting up & down every 15 seconds, all my extra stuff in my lap, sitting on an isle seat, can't see much out the window, nothing overhead, to "enjoy" the scenery. Just to get 6 bus loads of asians on a 7 parks in 5 day "tour".

Someone is making money on this, I get a diminished experience in order to appease the masses. NPS has it's hands tied by congress.

I fell in love with Yosemite back when my family visited back in the 60's, remember the fire fall? I've gone back many times in the 70's to the back country when waffle stompers and a ridged frame Kelty did the job. I did take a shake down trip with the EB to the valley, did the dance for a campsite, I am not a "valley guy". Way too many busses choking the infrastructure.

"Chip Tank" is in Flagstaff Az.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:51 PM   #44
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Here 's a funding graph from a somewhat older article.


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Old 06-02-2016, 08:23 PM   #45
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Is the difference between the Operations Budget and Park Service Funding the amount available for capital improvements? I'm assuming the operations budgets includes maintenance along with administration and whatever else is needed just to keep things running.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:10 PM   #46
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Bottom line, the NPS budget is insufficient. They are short on cash and have a $12 Billion maintenance backlog.

Ideas presented here on how the NPS could do things better are helpful, but they all require money: crowd control, traffic management, faster processing at entry points, more places to visit within each park, more ranger programs, better education of visitors, better supervision to help the silliest tourists avoid being injured by a large wild animal, and so on. This all requires money, but there just isn't any unless Congress decides to provide it.

Regarding visitor caps (not the kind you wear), it's an idea nobody will be happy with. Folks who drive for hours / days to get to a National Park but can't get in because on that day they didn't get lucky...well, it's not gonna be a happy day for anyone - especially the underpaid Ranger who has to turn them around.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:30 PM   #47
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While some might disagree, I don't disagree that more ought to be prioritized towards preservation and protection of these certain special places. They cannot be duplicated. The problem is that the US government is not providing funding at a level that advocates everywhere deem appropriate. This also holds true for advocates for health and welfare, social security, education, national defense, transportation, and on and on. So is the problem too many mouths at the table or too few contributing their fair share to the government? Hard call. What if the balanced call doubles your taxes (ie no more borrowing)? Would you be willing to sacrafice these parks to avoid a raise to your own taxes?

I get that this is a leading question. Feel free to promote an alternative workable argument.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:06 AM   #48
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If only the feds could balance the budget and stop paying all that interest on the debt.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:20 AM   #49
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Maybe it would help if folks like this weren't allowed in:
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:39 AM   #50
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Park Service's Bucket List...

Have too many people coming? Check out WHY:

America the Beautiful Passes- $80 a year
Annual Pass for active duty US Military, ER, NG- Free
Senior Pass- $10 for US Residents and Permanent Residents 62 or older
Access Pass- Free for those with Permanent Disabilities- Free
Annual Fourth Grade Pass, Home Schooled 10 years old- Free
Volunteer Pass- 250 Service Hours to Federal Agencies participating- Free

Everyone likes a good deal.

When a product is free or under valued, more will consume the product.

We all understand economics. Make a daily pass $100 and fewer people will come. If they keep coming, the Park Service can use the money to upgrade infrastructure and parking. Although the money may go the Department of Interior and end up squandered somewhere far, far away.

Senior Pass, $10. What a deal! Take that away and the Wrath of the Retirees will hit the Park Service Fan.

What do you do?
- Create 'NEW' National Parks?
- Daily Quotas?
- Raise Rates?
- Chaco Canyon wash board roads as a deterrent?

There are limited National Parks. There are a world of tourists wanting to visit our National Parks, even though other areas of the world have similar or even more dramatic examples with less attendance due to the unstable politics or costs of travel.

Location. Location. Location.

Make the best of it today. Tomorrow the rules may change. The 'cure' would be painful for everyone getting the good deals today. This is a Political Tennis Ball in motion. Change will not be good for some group. Probably the wildlife at all of the Parks... who are also at the park for... FREE.
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:28 PM   #51
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It's a tough issue that has been around since the beginning of the NPS. The Ken Burns series on the National Parks addresses the dilemma in fair detail.

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