Your National Parks Pass Doesn't Always Cover Your Entrance Fee
When doesn't your $50 National Parks Pass cover the cost of entering a unit of the national park system? When you visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, that's when.
You see, while your pass gets you through the Park Service's entrance gate, you'll have to shell out $8 to park inside the memorial!
In what sure seems like an example of the privatizing of your parks, it turns out that the parking garage was not built with federal dollars, but rather by Presidential Parking, Inc. -- catchy name, no? -- and that company controls the parking at the memorial. We will next run into Grand Canyon Parking, Inc., or Yosemite Valley Parking, Inc.?
If there's an upside to this fee, it's good for an entire year. Of course, that's probably little solace if you drove there from New Jersey. Oh, and if you think you can avoid the fee by parking on the shoulder of the road leading to the memorial, don't try that, as Scott Silver from Wild Wilderness tells me the South Dakota State Police will be happy to ticket your rig.
Of course, what really makes this sadly ironic is that Mount Rushmore in the past has graced the National Parks Pass.