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Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks

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Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
May 27, 2013 08:17PM
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney)
Seniors should pay more to access national parks, said one lawmaker during a House hearing Tuesday on forced budget cuts.

Please don't post entire news articles!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2013 04:15AM by eeek.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
May 27, 2013 08:46PM
Really? That's the solution? Charge seniors more?

Ay ay ay.

I am all in favor of asking seniors to chip in and donate to the parks if they can afford it, but it seems to me that someone who has worked his/her whole life and is now retired ought to be able to enter a National Park at a reduced rate. Campsites and other activities still cost money...



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
May 27, 2013 10:47PM
Quote
balzaccom

Really? That's the solution? Charge seniors more?

Ay ay ay.

I am all in favor of asking seniors to chip in and donate to the parks if they can afford it, but it seems to me that someone who has worked his/her whole life and is now retired ought to be able to enter a National Park at a reduced rate. Campsites and other activities still cost money...


They should eliminate the $10 lifetime senior pass, and instead replace it with an annual $10 senior pass. An annual senior pass will still offer great savings to seniors who want to visit our national parks.

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avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
May 28, 2013 04:17AM
Quote
plawrence
They should eliminate the $10 lifetime senior pass, and instead replace it with an annual $10 senior pass. An annual senior pass will still offer great savings to seniors who want to visit our national parks.

Better to just stop whining about minor amounts of money that could be made up trivially by fixing the corporate and rich guy tax nonsense.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
May 27, 2013 09:04PM
Tax Mitt Romney at a fair rate and you will come up with more than $10,000,000.00 year after year.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
May 28, 2013 02:13PM
I think we seniors should pay through the nose. Yes, eliminate the Lifetime $10. rate and charge seniors double for the first trip to each national park per year, triple on the second trip, quadruple on the third trip, etc.! After all, we are very slow, cause traffic tie-ups, complain a lot, often get confused on the trails, and are a drain on rescue services. And, there's more of us every year. What a financial resource! We have more money than God. Just ask us for it. We love to give; we're used to it.Grinning Devil
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 04, 2013 03:15PM
You're absolutely right! How selfish of me! I'm mailing my senior national park pass back because I'm stinking rich!Head roll



www.pbase.com/caesar77
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 04, 2013 04:22PM
Quote
parklover
said one lawmaker

Should be:

"said one lawmaker not wanting to be re-elected"
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 04, 2013 05:10PM
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 04, 2013 09:23PM
I have always thought that there is a large group of users who are getting the benefit of the low usage rates in our parks. Those are the folks that don't pay taxes; specifically, visitors from foreign countries. Nothing against them, really, but if in some way our taxes support the government and, in turn, national parks, shouldn't those who don't pay those same taxes pay a bit more? And, frankly, if they are coming from the other side of the world they can probably budget in an extra few bucks to be able to enjoy our national parks.

I met a guy from Germany last spring who was hiking into the "wave" in Utah/Arizona....very tough to get permits, and he didn't have one. His thought process...I came all the way over here and I am happy to pay the $250 fine, if the catch me, to see this.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 07:17AM
I had this same conversion with someone... maybe you... Or just myself...
smiling smiley

But I'd still charge The Old Dood triple. And make him show his ID to ensure he is who he is.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 09:18AM
What gets me is people that don't want to pay the entrance fees so they go into a park early and leave late. Yes, we pay taxes but entrance fees are still needed to keep the parks running.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 11:24AM
Quote
parklover
What gets me is people that don't want to pay the entrance fees so they go into a park early and leave late. Yes, we pay taxes but entrance fees are still needed to keep the parks running.

It's too bad the US is so wasteful with such a huge portion of its tax revenue. Don't want to get into the things I feel that should be reduced drastically. Generally, the entrance fees and passes for NPs are quite friendly IMO. OTOH, the passes for the Calif's state/county parks are bit out of whack.

Arriving early and/or leaving late has been fairly common for my trips - arriving early more so than leaving late. Dodging the fees isn't part of the equation, however. If I misplaced my annual pass, and I'm with a senior that forgot his, $20 isn't a problem (assuming I'm carrying enough cash, lol). Do they accept credit cards?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2013 11:25AM by Ohnivy-Drak.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 11:30AM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Do they accept credit cards?

They usually do. But there have been times where their phone connection is down so they can't.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 11:54AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Do they accept credit cards?

They usually do. But there have been times where their phone connection is down so they can't.

Thanks. I know this was probably a ridiculous question, but the Big Oak Flat entrance doesn't appear setup for electronic transactions. I've never tried paying via credit. All my fees and passes have been paid with Andrew Jacksons.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 01:45PM
They prefer credit cards. (there's a sign saying so) smiling smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 01:50PM
(I'm not kidding) (just looked on Google Street View... and there it is) smiling smiley

And I 110% agree with the Cali State Parks comment. They would get some money from me if it wasn't ridiculously priced.



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2013 01:53PM by chick-on.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 07:25PM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Thanks. I know this was probably a ridiculous question, but the Big Oak Flat entrance doesn't appear setup for electronic transactions. I've never tried paying via credit. All my fees and passes have been paid with Andrew Jacksons.
All the entrance stations take credit/debit cards, and prefer to.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 09:27PM
Quote
parklover

What gets me is people that don't want to pay the entrance fees so they go into a park early and leave late.




The vast majority of people I know who arrive and leave Yosemite (either early or late) when there's no one manning the entrance stations do so because of logistics and scheduling requirements, not because they're trying to dodge any park fees.

Many people from the Bay Area like myself will arrive late to the park on Friday evening after the end of a long workweek and then during the summer will head back home after sunset on Sunday (which is after 8 PM during late spring and summer months). And many people who are staying in lodging outside the park will stay in the park to have dinner or catch one of the evening's interpretive programs. Why doesn't NPS man the entrance stations until 11PM on Friday nights or at least until 9PM on weekend nights? Instead, the entrance stations are usually closed down after 6:00 PM on most days. That's ridiculously early for a weekend day and especially for a Friday night. (Though on some Friday's I've actually seen them manned until 8:00 PM). But on Saturday and Sundays, the entrances stations are usually left unmanned after 6:00 PM.

I think the entrance stations should be manned – at the very least – from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM each day during spring and summer (and earlier and later on weekends). And during the time period that Tioga Pass is open, the Tioga Pass entrance should be manned all the time (24 hours a day) to prevent and discourage unauthorized commercial vehicles from entering the park and damaging the roadway. Through the years, I've seen countless of commercial vehicles bombing down Tioga Road late at night. I've seen this when I've travelled Tioga Road to go to and from the Eastern Sierra.

And by-the-way, I always get the annual $80 pass so personally it's a moot point for me if the entrance stations are manned or not since I already paid my fees. But don't accuse park visitors who have the sheer audacity to enter or leave Yosemite after 6:00 PM at night or before 7:30 AM in the morning of doing so just to avoid paying the park's entrance fees.

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Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 10:09PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
parklover

What gets me is people that don't want to pay the entrance fees so they go into a park early and leave late.




The vast majority of people I know who arrive and leave Yosemite (either early or late) when there's no one manning the entrance stations do so because of logistics and scheduling requirements, not because they're trying to dodge any park fees.

Many people from the Bay Area like myself will arrive late to the park on Friday evening after the end of a long workweek and then during the summer will head back home after sunset on Sunday (which is after 8 PM during late spring and summer months). And many people who are staying in lodging outside the park will stay in the park to have dinner or catch one of the evening's interpretive programs. Why doesn't NPS man the entrance stations until 11PM on Friday nights or at least until 9PM on weekend nights? Instead, the entrance stations are usually closed down after 6:00 PM on most days. That's ridiculously early for a weekend day and especially for a Friday night. (Though on some Friday's I've actually seen them manned until 8:00 PM). But on Saturday and Sundays, the entrances stations are usually left unmanned after 6:00 PM.

I think the entrance stations should be manned – at the very least – from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM each day during spring and summer (and earlier and later on weekends). And during the time period that Tioga Pass is open, the Tioga Pass entrance should be manned all the time (24 hours a day) to prevent and discourage unauthorized commercial vehicles from entering the park and damaging the roadway. Through the years, I've seen countless of commercial vehicles bombing down Tioga Road late at night. I've seen this when I've travelled Tioga Road to go to and from the Eastern Sierra.

And by-the-way, I always get the annual $80 pass so personally it's a moot point for me if the entrance stations are manned or not since I already paid my fees. But don't accuse park visitors who have the sheer audacity to enter or leave Yosemite after 6:00 PM at night or before 7:30 AM in the morning of doing so just to avoid paying the park's entrance fees.

.

Maybe you should reread my post and not put meaning in my post that was not there and accusing me of saying or meaning something I didn't say or mean. I SPECIFICALLY mentioned the people that were entering late or leaving early on PURPOSE BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO PAY ( there are people who have admitted doing that) and was not referring to people that get there late because of other reasons. I also some times enter parks late because of travel reasons and I also have a pass and I have nothing against others who come to the park late and are willing to pay the fees.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2013 10:10PM by parklover.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 05, 2013 10:30PM
I think those who intentionally enter the park early and leave late just to avoid the park entrance fee are simply a tiny fraction of all the park visitors like the small subset of park visitors who camp illegally around El Cap Meadow or backpack without a valid permit.

But I do think the Park Service is losing out on a large amount of revenue by simply not extending the hours that the entrance stations are manned, especially during the high visitation months. And that's not the fault of ANY park visitors (including any who might be trying to dodge the fees), but of the Park Service itself.

.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 06, 2013 09:23AM
They are also losing a lot of money with their several "FREE WEEKENDS".
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 07, 2013 11:09AM
Quote
plawrence

But I do think the Park Service is losing out on a large amount of revenue by simply not extending the hours that the entrance stations are manned, especially during the high visitation months.

Hours were extended during Memorial Day Weekend. I recall a long line at BOF for exiting, and it was well past 8:00pm. It must take a holiday or special event for the Park to consider it worth their time? And the majority of people have already paid going into the Park. Is there a decent amt of people that enter late?

Quote
tomdisco
They are also losing a lot of money with their several "FREE WEEKENDS".

It'd be interesting to see how much of an incentive these promotions actually are. Free entrance is a small amt for Park to give up if it sparks enough visitation and consumption at their tourist attractions. They will also nail their share of folks with citations.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 11, 2013 08:59AM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Quote
plawrence

But I do think the Park Service is losing out on a large amount of revenue by simply not extending the hours that the entrance stations are manned, especially during the high visitation months.

Hours were extended during Memorial Day Weekend. I recall a long line at BOF for exiting, and it was well past 8:00pm. It must take a holiday or special event for the Park to consider it worth their time? And the majority of people have already paid going into the Park. Is there a decent amt of people that enter late?


Well, I must applaud the Park Service for apparently extending the gate hours this year (at least on Friday night). I arrived at Yosemite's Hwy 120 entrance last Friday night at 9:35 PM, and low and behold, the entrance station was still manned! Yeah!

Hope that the Park Service continues with the extended hours at their entrance stations at least during the busy summer months.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2013 01:21PM by plawrence.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 11, 2013 10:57AM
Quote
plawrence

Well, I must applaud the Park Service for apparently extending the gate hours this year (at laest on Friday night). I arrived at Yosemite's Hwy 120 entrance last Friday night at 9:35 PM, and low and behold, the entrance station was still manned! Yeah!

Hope that the Park Service continues with the extended hours at their entrance stations at least during the busy summer months.

Impressive. They must be secretly trolling these boards for suggestions/comments. I recall a ranger responding to the criticism of the Big Meadow fire. 9:35 PM: gotta be a record. No one really wants to be stuck in those enclosures so late. At least I wouldn't.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 11, 2013 02:24PM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Quote
plawrence

Well, I must applaud the Park Service for apparently extending the gate hours this year (at laest on Friday night). I arrived at Yosemite's Hwy 120 entrance last Friday night at 9:35 PM, and low and behold, the entrance station was still manned! Yeah!

Hope that the Park Service continues with the extended hours at their entrance stations at least during the busy summer months.

Impressive. They must be secretly trolling these boards for suggestions/comments. I recall a ranger responding to the criticism of the Big Meadow fire. 9:35 PM: gotta be a record. No one really wants to be stuck in those enclosures so late. At least I wouldn't.

There are some positives with manning one of the entrance stations later in the evening in the summer like no long lines of cars impatiently waiting to get in, honking their horns and spewing out exhaust. Not to mention it cools down at night so it is nice and comfortable in the kiosk and outside.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 12, 2013 01:26PM
There was no long line of cars, but there definitely was a line of cars. I was the fifth car in line when I initially pulled up to the entrance station.

(For people leaving to Yosemite after work on Friday from the Bay Area, between 9:00 PM and 11:00 PM is the prime time (depending if they take a dinner break or not) when they'll be entering the park from Hwy 120.)

.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 06, 2013 06:04PM
I'm with you on this. Europe has a system like this. Those holding EU passports get free or cheaper entrance fees to musuems, than those not holding an EU passport.

Hard to implement here where few people carry passports, though.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 06, 2013 06:08PM
Actually, I'd charge people, like me, who come up to Yosemite on the uncrowded east side, a lot less than those of you who cause giant traffic jams at the west side entrances. smiling smiley
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 07, 2013 11:33PM
Quote
Mom
I'm with you on this. Europe has a system like this. Those holding EU passports get free or cheaper entrance fees to musuems, than those not holding an EU passport.

Hard to implement here where few people carry passports, though.

Prior to 07-20-1975, foreign visitors with valid passports were permitted free entry to the Nation's parks. The last I heard, active duty military on travel orders were permitted free entry - to transit the park - but I'm not certain if the practice is still in force.
avatar Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 08, 2013 06:40AM
Quote
Dearborn
Prior to 07-20-1975, foreign visitors with valid passports were permitted free entry to the Nation's parks. The last I heard, active duty military on travel orders were permitted free entry - to transit the park - but I'm not certain if the practice is still in force.
Members of the US military can get a free annual pass at any entrance station. This pass gets them, for free, into any "national fee use" area. For more info click here.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 12, 2013 11:03AM
A good link and discussion on the subject:

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/05/npca-npha-want-national-park-service-raise-entrance-fees-parks23391

Snippet from:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/seniors-pay-more-national-park-184600327.html

Even doubling the senior rate for a lifetime pass wouldn't come close to the $153 million budget gap that the National Park Service faces thanks to $85 billion in automatic budget cuts between now and Sept. 30. All agencies are dealing with cutbacks, and some are forcing employees to take unpaid leave.
In 2012, the National Parks Service sold 500,000 senior passes raising $5 million, the agency said. Doubling the seniors' pass to $20 could generate $10 million.
Automatic budget cuts have forced the agency to trim 1,000 seasonal employees, and delay the opening of visitor centers and plowing of snowed-in roads leading to larger national parks such as Yellowstone.
=========================

For a long time I've wanted budgets for our national parks and forests decoupled from Congress because the budgets become political pawns by the kind of people that tend to not be interested in outdoor activities but rather power and money. Certainly if put to the vote of we American people there would be an overwhelming vote to take park budgets and allocations out of the hands of our politicians. However trying to wrestle that away from lawmakers is likely futile so in the mean time how can we increase revenues? As someone enjoying the $10 lifetime fee, as a matter of fairness I would not mind paying more.

The whole cost of our parks each year is rather trivial compared to the costs of much of our modern American infrustructures. About 300 million people visit our national parks each year though only one-third of the parks charge an entrance fee. Additionally fee collection is not automated but rather NPS personnel that are not on a 24-7 schedule partially man entrance kiosks.

Automated toll collection technology has improved significantly in the last decade to the level such could be implemented 24/7 at park entrances and many more of the now free entry parks could start charging. A prime reason most parkshave free entry is because of the cost of manning entrance kiosks. Once an automated toll gate is deployed ongoing costs are greatly reduced. Automated includes both cash taking toll machines and electronic toll collection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_toll_collection

With an automated system, parks could still have NPS personnel manning kiosks say during day hours by having a separate entrance lane for those visitors wishing to ask questions.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2013 11:08AM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Should seniors pay more to access National Parks
June 12, 2013 12:31PM
Even doubling the senior rate for a lifetime pass wouldn't come close to the $153 million budget gap that the National Park Service faces thanks to $85 billion in automatic budget cuts between now and Sept. 30. All agencies are dealing with cutbacks, and some are forcing employees to take unpaid leave.
In 2012, the National Parks Service sold 500,000 senior passes raising $5 million, the agency said. Doubling the seniors' pass to $20 could generate $10 million.
Automatic budget cuts have forced the agency to trim 1,000 seasonal employees, and delay the opening of visitor centers and plowing of snowed-in roads leading to larger national parks such as Yellowstone.



Bravo! I thank you for your informed remark. I was in hopes of adding an excerpt from a retired NPS superintendent who stated that he always found ways to operate with 10% budget cuts in the past, but I have misplaced his email. I have viewed the sequestration situation with a rather jaundiced eye and I feel far more can be done - if the will is there.
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