Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

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Should the NPS charge higher entrance fees during peak times?

No.
9
27%
Yes. $70 is reasonable.
5
15%
Yes. Let's settle with $50.
9
27%
Yes. But only for foreign tourists/commercial groups.
4
12%
Yes. Discount 50% for people hiking 2+ miles.
1
3%
Yes. Discount 50% for people who don't park their car.
1
3%
I don't care. It's not like I've ever paid anyway!
4
12%
 
Total votes: 33

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chumley
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Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by chumley » Oct 24 2017 2:27 pm

Highlights:
• Applicable at 17 of the busiest national parks
• Acadia, Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, J Tree, Olympic, Rainier, Rocky Mtn, SeKi, Shenandoah, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion
• 5 month peak season begins May 1, 2018 in most (June 1 in others)
• Entrance fees increase to $70 per vehicle and $30 per person on bike or foot during peak season
• Increased fee structures for commercial tour operators at all parks all the time (plus peak season fees at the 17 parks above)
• Single-park annual pass available for $75
• Current America the Beautiful Pass still available and valid for $80 for all parks

• Comment period today through 11/23/17

Read the full news release here:
https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/10-24-201 ... oposal.htm

edit: poll added
Last edited by chumley on Oct 26 2017 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by trekkin_gecko » Oct 25 2017 4:12 pm

My friend's $10 America the beautiful pass is useful

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hikeaz
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by hikeaz » Oct 25 2017 4:55 pm

rcorfman wrote:@hikeaz
I don't follow the picture with the two bar graphs. In the first, for Demographics, the bars add up to 138%. In the second, for Income, the bars add up to 164%. Are the graphs out of whack or am I missing something?
I did not either, as the bar graph is obtuse - however - see page 3 within the following link for further explanation... --> https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-con ... Parks2.pdf
Last edited by hikeaz on Oct 26 2017 7:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
kurt

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Jim_H
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Jim_H » Oct 26 2017 7:33 am

There seems to be some sort of myth in our country and on HAZ, that there are lots of underprivileged families with children driving across the country to someplace like Zion or Grand Canyon, or Yosemite, budgeting for food, gas, hotels or other lodging as seen in 1983's Vacation, and then arriving at the gate of these parks only to be turned back by a fee which has increase from $30 to $70, and is now unaffordable. Like arriving at Wally World, but it isn't closed, they're just too poor to get in. How sad.

It would be nice if the Parks received all the funding they needed to be funded and maintain their facilities and grounds, but that hasn't happened for years. These are high visitation parks, during peak season, and if you go to the ones near us, they seem to have way more wealthy foreign tourists than they do Americas. I remember numerous stops on the Rim at Bryce where no one around me was speaking English. Some of these places, like Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon along the South Rim, are so crowded, the bathrooms and services are completely inadequate. If nothing else, maybe a fee increase would thin the heard, but also, maybe they can use the money to improve the parks.

I also recall posting a year or so ago, about how I thought the fees at the parks was too low. I also feel the Inter Agency Pass fee is too low. $70 might be steep, and $50 or so may be the compromise the NPS is looking for, but a fee increase for the Inter Agency Pass would make sense, too. Then, instead of it allowing free access, it would make more sense that it be free for off peak, but give 50% discounted entrance fee during peak season.

This thread may seem outdoor related, but it really is a political one, because the National Parks as they exist are an extension of our political will. When I go to a place like Zion and see 50 year old bathrooms built for visitation levels that existed in the middle 1960s, I see something that is largely an after thought which is ignored, just like our numerous old schools, our falling down bridges, our decrepit air traffic control systems, and on and on. You like tax breaks for the rich? Good, this is what you get. Soak it up.
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chumley
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by chumley » Oct 26 2017 9:20 am

In 1916, Yellowstone charged a $10 vehicle fee. (There was no entrance fee, just a fee if you were to drive on the roads). That equates to $226 in 2017. The fee was valid for an entire season.

Glacier, Olympic, Yosemite, Mesa Verde, and others also charged a vehicle fee.

This fee was primarily paid by the wealthy who could afford a car at that time.

By 1926 as more and more people visited parks by vehicle there was pressure to reduce the vehicle fees.
Yellowstone dropped to $7.50. Yosemite was $5. Glacier was $2.
Adjusted for inflation, that would equate to $105, $70, and $28 in 2017 dollars.
smoke it

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by flagscott » Oct 29 2017 8:10 am

Just read this in the Flagstaff paper:
--Increase in revenue from proposed admission fee increase to go toward backlog: $70 million

--Decrease in proposed NPS 2018 budget for facility operations and maintenance: $93 million

http://azdailysun.com/opinion/editorial ... e-latest-1
As usual, another shell game from Trump and Zinke. These guys don't care about the parks for one second. I wonder why we need to get exactly $70 million out of park visitors. Maybe cause of this:
Breaking his promise to ensure taxpayers receive a fair return from oil, gas, and coal development on U.S. public lands, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Interior Department plan to rescind 2016 royalty reforms at a cost of $75 million annually to U.S. taxpayers.

At issue is a rule implemented by the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) — Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform — which updated decades old rules on taxpayer-owned oil, gas, and coal. The rule, often referred to as “the ONRR rule,” closed a major royalty loophole, first reported by Reuters, that allowed energy companies to sell coal, oil, and gas to their own companies at significantly depressed prices, thereby dodging royalty payments owed to taxpayers.

https://medium.com/westwise/trumps-inte ... 6e40f46aa2
So, while Zinke is jacking up costs for the parks, he's letting drillers and miners on public lands get away with ripping off Americans. Thanks, Trump and Zinke!

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by sidhayes » Oct 29 2017 11:09 am

Thanks. I understand now.

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Tough_Boots » Oct 29 2017 8:40 pm

Thanks, Obama!!!
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Alston_Neal » Oct 30 2017 11:09 am

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Hippy » Nov 06 2017 10:42 pm

I don't know what y'all are worried about... Lol it's just a donation to the park. Should be tax deductible! But nooooo

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RowdyandMe
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by RowdyandMe » Nov 07 2017 8:41 am

Last edited by RowdyandMe on Nov 07 2017 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Hippy » Nov 07 2017 11:43 am

@Widowmaker You have no idea my Friend....no idea.
The South rim in winter has it's moments...which is why I'm returning to Tusayan in mid-December.

Also, I mean it. Visit Hippy and you don't have to pay to get in the park. It's a thing

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by JimmyLyding » Nov 07 2017 11:53 pm

I camped for 9 days at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite around Labor Day this year, and it wasn't full of poor people. The vast majority of campers had a combination of recent model SUV, REI addiction (as guilty as yours truly), a coating of Burning Man dust on their vehicles, were doing a roadie across the country (frequently foreign visitors), RV/fifth wheel/trailer/pickup camper, and license plate frames from their favorite institution of higher learning.
$70.00 for a week in Yosemite, Acadia, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. is still the best vacation value in the world. I hate the Trump administration with a hatred that I did not know I had, but $70.00 for a week is closer to market value than $30.00. I think the market value of a week's pass (that's what they're really selling) is a lot more than $70.00, but don't tell anyone. I'm not some uber-capitalist or libertarian either, and I am not in favor of reducing access for the hoi polloi in order to make it nicer for us special people, either.

In order to get my reservation at Tuolumne Meadows Campground (from the Friday before Labor Day to the Sunday afterwards :y: ) I had to log onto Recreation.gov before 7:00 AM Pacific on April 15th and repeatedly submit my order until it became official at 7. Right now the barrier to entry, at least in terms of reserving a camping spot at Tuolumne Meadows, is timing and effort. That is unlikely to change in my estimation because everyone I met/remembered seeing seems unlikely to be deterred by $70.00/week. Just a personal estimation so take it with a grain of salt.

There's also the idea that allowing as many people as possible into the popular national parks could end up ruining the parks, if some of them aren't ruined already.

Since I'm on my soapbox:
1) National Parks should be run so that their natural heritage is preserved as much as possible. That's what people come to enjoy.
2) We need more national parks. A lot more.
3) Our national parks need to be properly funded and maintained. We pay the people who educate our youth and protect our country like garbage, and we spend embarrassingly little to maintain and preserve our national treasures. Of course don't look at me because I didn't vote for this, but that's another thread.

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by flagscott » Nov 08 2017 6:45 am

@JimmyLyding If National Parks are seen as a playground for the rich (more than they already are), why should Congress keep funding them? I agree with your 3 goals, but Republicans are looking for any excuse to cut funding for the parks. And if they are seen as nothing more than tourist destinations for foreigners and rich white people, they will lose even more funding. This is why pretty much every conservation group, most of which share your 3 goals, have come out against the admissions increase. Protecting the parks requires that their is a constituency that is prepared to vote for candidates that will protect the parks.

As for the claim that anyone who visits the parks can afford to pay $70, I call BS there. Several people above have made this claim with zero evidence. No time to dig it up, but I saw at least one economic study that said that raising costs decreases park attendance. I would be shocked if attendance among poorer people doesn't go down. The laws of supply and demand is one of the very few things in economics that are true (as a general rule, I'm with David Brower--economics is brain damage, but supply/demand curves are real). If prices go up, demand goes down. Especially for those with less money.

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Jim_H » Nov 08 2017 8:40 am

@JimmyLyding

I am no fan of the Con-artist in chief, but this isn't really his fault, and the lack of funding and maintenance goes back decades. Clinton Era, or earlier, I think. Except that many people do a park jumping trip, 1 day or less at park X, then on to the next where they repeat this, I agree that $70 just isn't very much money, and is extremely affordable and a nominal increase in the overall cost of a trip for those represented by the people we frequently see in the parks. In fact, $70 for a family of 4 or so, who made it to the park, with their food, gas, hotel and other costs, is hardly going to be their deciding factor to not go, it isn't as if Disney, or where ever else, is going to charge an entry fee which is that cheap!

In the past I have gone to multiple places spending limited time in 1 spot, but over the last couple of years I have learned that I like one destination (in parks) to hang out for a while. Zion in August of 2016 and again this June, with a day trip to Cedar Breaks. I did technically go to Bryce in 2016 after Zion, but it just felt like too much, and wished I had stayed in Zion another day or two, instead. This year, after some stuff in western Nevada, I felt it was enjoyable to hang around for 4 nights in Great Basin NP, which still doesn't even charge an entrance fee!

Who knows where this will go, but maybe the increase won't be to $70, but perhaps it will also spurn some debate over increased public funding, and more awareness that you can't have everything for free and expect it to be in great shape.
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by JimmyLyding » Nov 08 2017 11:46 am

There is also talk about restricting access to Yosemite on summer holiday weekends to visitors with reservations to stay in the park. The gateway communities are predictably hopping mad about this, but Yosemite, particularly the valley, is a mess on summer holiday weekends.
This idea has the potential to be far more limiting in terms locking people out than the modest increase of $30 to $70. I feel that the NPS would have to raise the price of a weekly pass to at least $200 before it would cause a drop in visitation to the prominent parks.

Does anyone know what the most visited place in the National Park Service system was in 2016? It was Golden Gate National Recreation Area here in the Bay Area. Does anyone know what admission is there? It’s free. It still costs a ton of money to maintain, however. Food for thought.

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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by tibber » Nov 08 2017 12:11 pm

This summer for a weekend in August up at Waterton, Canada they restricted entry to "only with a reservation" that you had to show them in order to get into Waterton and Waterton Park. Of course this was their free year to celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary.
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by Tough_Boots » Nov 09 2017 6:58 pm

flagscott wrote:As for the claim that anyone who visits the parks can afford to pay $70, I call BS there. Several people above have made this claim with zero evidence. No time to dig it up, but I saw at least one economic study that said that raising costs decreases park attendance.
You can't call "BS" on people for making a "claim with zero evidence" and then not actually supply the evidence for your own point. That's silly.
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Re: Proposed NPS entrance fee increase during peak seasons

Post by amy1300 » Nov 11 2017 12:27 pm

To me, the opinion on the fee proposal depends in part on what they would do with the new revenue. Maintenance backlog - sure! It's clear Grand Canyon needs to do something about the water pipeline, so they don't continue to have repeated breakages. Also if the Parks need money for some salary increases - though most federal employees are very well-compensated compared to AZ state employees, I don't know about National Parks personnel, specifically. BUT I would not like to see the new revenues used to build new "stuff" to accommodate more visitors at one time, unless maybe it's more bathrooms where needed. The Parks don't need bigger crowds.

For parks that are close together, like Canyonlands, Arches, Bryce, Zion, maybe even G Canyon (as well as SEKI and Yosemite, in their own grouping) -- they probably should allow the $70 fee to cover admission to 2 or 3 parks in one 7-day period, since many people spend less than a week in a few places and try to visit more than one on a single vacation -- especially people from east of the Mississippi.

I'd suggest they charge the higher fee only to S.Rim visitors, and keep today's entry fee for people going just to N.Rim. The North Rim and the Toroweap area don't need to deter crowds, and don't have the maintenance issues of the S.Rim. Also, you don't really have the option to visit N.Rim in the "off season" since the road gets closed!

Maybe they could hold down the fee to $50 and at the same time institute new fees where currently there are none, like at Great Basin or Golden Gate. (As long as the new fees could be used anywhere in the NPS they are needed, and would not be restricted to the park where collected, this might help provide new revenue for the most-used parks.)

(I don't like "lottery" systems for permits, either, but at least it helps control the crowds. If there needs to be lottery, BTW, I don't see why there's no preference given for US citizens, or for people who have entered the same lottery unsuccessfully several times. I read of one person who tried for 10 years for a permit to hike the Wave and never did get in - so why should someone else get it on the first try, in a lottery?)
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