Opposition Mounting to Higher Entrance Fee At Olympic National Park

Ca Ching!; Don Melanson photographer.

Ca Ching! Don Melanson photo via Flickr.

A trend seems to be developing in the West against higher entrance fees in the national parks. Already Yosemite and Crater Lake national parks and Lava Beds National Monument have had fee increases spiked, and now the folks around Olympic National Park are complaining about a proposed increase there.

In the case of Yosemite, backlash from businesses surrounding the park led Park Service Director Mary Bomar to table a proposal to boost the entrance fee from $20 to $25. At Crater Lake, it seemed like politics and local opposition helped shelve plans to double the entrance to $20.

Now there's a story out of Seattle that the locals are not happy at all with plans to boost the entrance fee at Olympic to $25 from its current $15 rate beginning in 2009.

"People are concerned that the pricing could keep people away," park spokeswoman Barb Maynes told the Seattle Times. "People are concerned that it would particularly lead to a pretty stratified sort of visitation where only the wealthier members of our society could come."

The story, which you can find here, also points out that plans to boost entrance fees at nearby Mount Rainier National Park have been put on hold while Director Bomar and her management team judge public opposition to these increases.

Is this growing resentment to higher entrance fees a regional phenomenon? It doesn't seem to have reached the Rockies, where higher fees encountered little resistance at Zion, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Comments

Why not raise the fee in all of the National Parks to $50 per car for a weekly pass. People are more than willing to pay $50 to go to Disneyland, Six Flags, etc:. With all of the Foreigners you see in our National Parks, they must have money or they would not have gotten over here to see it. The National Parks are run down and need more money then they are getting from the government.

"Why not raise the fee in all of the National Parks to $50 per car for a weekly pass."

That'll sure cause visitation to skyrocket. And yeah, let's stick it to those "Foreigners"!

While we're at it I'd like to remind the anonymous economic genius: Disneyland and Six Flags don't also receive direct funding from the federal taxpayer. They have to get all of their money the old fashioned way, through voluntary transactions with willing customers, one transaction at a time.

"And yeah, let's stick it to those "Foreigners" How much do you suppose they pay in taxes to support our parks? Beamis, in a previous post on a different topic you asked someone to respond to your arguments without attacking you but it seems that what you like to do best.

I was not attacking anyone. I was sarcastically questioning the lazy logic that we should make "Foreigners" pay more because they have enough money to get over here so hence they won't mind being gouged to the tune of $50 a pop to enter every national park.

I didn't call this anonymous person an idiot or a jerk. I simply skewered what I considered to be a simplistic and possibly xenophobic attitude towards our foreign guests and then pointed out a flaw in his reasoning towards private business.

What should I have said, "Good stuff. Thanks for the enlightening input." This website is about debate and dialog concerning the best way to preserve and defend national treasures. Light sarcasm has its place when half-baked ideas are slung out in a haphazard and unfocused manner. This person was free to respond to my sentiments and may yet.

Also in response to your point about "Foreigners" not paying taxes so they should pay more, how do you propose to determine who is and who is not a foreigner at the entrance gate and how much more should they be forced to fork over? Would you be happy to pay more to get into Windsor Castle or to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the same reason?

I'm not sure how much foreigners pay in federal taxes, but they do pay many different taxes. If they fly around the country, they pay the federal tax on airline tickets. If they rent a car, they pay taxes on that. If they buy gas for their rental car, they pay federal taxes on that. If they use interstate turnpikes, they pay a user fee (tax) on that. If they buy goods or services, they pay sales tax on that. They probably paid a processing fee (tax) for their visas. When they enter a national park, they pay a user fee (tax). Then they dump millions into the US economy which generates jobs which generates income tax which is used to fund national parks. While we may not know how much of the taxes payed they pay directly support our parks, the contribution of foriegn visitors shouldn't be underestimated.

When I lived in Bulgaria, there were different prices for foreigners than for Bulgarians. It seemed very unfair. I'm glad to live in a country with a constitution that provides equal protection for everyone in its borders, not just those with citizenship.

Just because some people are more able to afford entrance fees, it should not follow that entrace fees should be raised for specific groups or for all people.

Can't anyone see what will happen here?

The fees go up and the government cuts back on the meager funding they dole out to the parks which in my travels, are way under funded just to maintain them!
every park employee, ranger or administrator that I had the pleasure to talk to tells me the sad stories of woe, bleak outlook due to the government cutbacks.

private run parks such as stone mtn. park in Georgia, seem to do well. (possible partial solution?)

the local communities around these beautiful places benefit well and probably could stand a non-resident tax such as the one we have here in Florida on hotel rooms and such to help with this too.

but in my simple view America is a privileged place to live and those that want to see it should see it the same way we do and do not discriminate on fees which should be free or as low cost as possible! (how much does Smokey Mountain National park charge?)

Also if enough people are informed and the public steps up and demands that our elected officials stop spending the taxes it does collect for this on other things, maybe more will be done.

Honnestly, i find it wrong to raise fees... I'm a foreigner, and i don't understand why we should pay more than residents. I mean, the fact i'm coming to the USA doesn't mean i'm rich, it just means that i made the decision to save money to do it.
Then, i would say that, unfortunately, raise fees or taxes are common sense for administrations, in the states or here in my country, rather than spending the public money in a good way. Do you really think it still make sense (i'm not talking about fallen soldiers, they are heroes) to spend all money to war? With a small % of that money, a lot of stuff would be better in the US.
And, i want to add this, i'm really happy about your NP. Here, we don't have that (well, yeah, Belgium is a small country) but i think NP rock! You have fantastic landscapes, parks, ... and it's great to have it organised: rangers, campgrounds and so on. As long as it is open to everyone the same way, then it's cool. I fear of yu start raising fees, not everyone will still be able to visit...