More Opposition to Crater Lake Fee Hike

Another voice is calling on Washington to drop plans for a doubling in the entrance fee to Crater Lake National Park. Last week came word of U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio's opposition to the jumping of the fee from $10 to $20.
Now fellow Congressman Greg Walden has joined DeFazio, saying he thinks "doubling the fee is going way too far."
The news story that carried Walden's comments noted that Crater Lake Superintendent Chuck Lundy says the added revenues would go to help improve visitor facilities and services throughout the park.
Isn't that what Congress provides the NPS a budget for?
According to the story, a 90-day public comment period on the fee increase runs through the end of March. If approved, the higher fee takes effect next January.

Comments

Yes, that is what the "NPS budget" is for, but we also have other national priorities (securing our borders, winning the War on Terror) in addition to maintaining our parks. Besides, ya know where most of the NPS budget is spent?...try too many scientists making $$$$$$$ instead of rangers making $$. Maybe you oughta do a little investigating on that, and report back to us in a column...like what % of the NPS budget is scientist salaries.... Anyway, the stuffed-shirt politicians need to refrain from micro-managing our parks...it's the superintendent's job to do what he/she feels necessary to manage their resource. I'll bet ya that those who visit Crater on a regular basis will do what they should do anyway...BUY AN ANNUAL PASS...to do otherwise is not being all that smart anyway...and those people oughta get hit in the head with a Vonage box. :-) Hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo-hoo! Those on vacation will buy an ATB pass since they are probably visiting many parks in addition to Crater.
Historically, the science budget in the national parks has been anemic. I don't know how much that's changed in the past 20 years, but I recently read Alston Chase's book criticizing the NPS on Yellowstone, and the numbers are staggering in suggesting the parks have always spent much more money on law enforcement than on science and that the scientific program has largely been based on enforcement concerns.
From my experience, it seems most NPS dollars go to administrative salaries and road repairs. Resource management salaries, or "scientist" salaries, are a small portion of park budgets. And they are considered rangers and often wear the same uniform as law enforcement and interpretation.
Ranger X, that's right. That scientists are rangers is another one of Chase's criticisms. It didn't always used to be that way; I think the re-organization goes back to the 1960s. All of it can be very confusing to keep straight for me, especially given the complexities of the law.
A lot has changed regarding resource management in the NPS since Chase wrote his book. While the agency still isn't where it needs to be, the "Natural Resource Challenge" which former Director Bob Stanton instituted after the publication of Dick Sellars' outstanding "Protecting Nature in the National Parks" (itself written in partial response to Chase) has resulted in about $80 million of NEW recurring funding for natural resources in the NPS each year starting in 1999. Hundreds of new natural resource managers have been hired and the Service's Inventory and Monitoring program, which provides "vital signs" information to park managers, has really taken off. So while rangers today still do some resource management, most resource managers today are well-trained professionals, many with advanced degrees in biology or another science. Unfortunately. despite those budget increases, most of the directives from Washington in the recent years of park operational budget squeezes have regressed again towards emphasizing the visitor services ("enjoyment" in the Organic Act) side of the mission and been silent on the "conserve unimpaired" side of the mission, which the courts have repeatedly said is paramount. Most parks are hard pressed to adequately monitor the condition of their resources, no less to maintain or restore ecological integrity when needed. JLongstreet an NPS Superintendent