Reader Participation Day: Should Costs Of Operating Special Programs In the Parks Be Shared By All?
Should the National Park Service do away with special use fees and simply spread the costs of running special programs across all those who enter the parks?
For instance, in the ongoing discussion of climbing fees at Denali National Park and Preserve, officials at the Access Fund have suggested that a small increase in park entrance fees could easily off-set the cost of Denali's Mountaineering Program.
Is that reasonable? Should the costs of a special user group be born by all? Should there be an increase in entrance fees at Grand Canyon National Park to off-set the trail repairs necessitated by mule trains and so allow for more mule rides into the canyon's Inner Gorge. Or higher entrance fees to cover the costs of the park's river program?
And what about backcountry fees? There are reservation fees in some parks, and boating permits to be had in others. Should all these be wiped out in exchange, say, of a $5 boost in entrance fees per car?
Or, should the folks who participate in this activities simply bear all the costs?