What is a visit to a National Park Worth?
Per a memo put out by National Park Service Director, Jon Jarvis, for the 1st time in 8 years the National Park Service will be allowed to raise entrance and amenity fees. Lassen Park has not had a entrance fee increase since 1998. The proposed fees are a significant increase in many cases. 131 of the 401 public areas under the NPS are considering the fee increases. Please take time to learn about these proposed fees and let the National Park Service know how you feel.
My take from the memo sent in August:
- The Park Service feels increase fees will allow for the park service to invest in improvements necessary to provide the best park experience to visitors.
- Goal to have all National Parks within a group at a standard rate by 2017. The National Park Units have been divided into 4 groups.
- Implementation and timeline of fee hikes may vary by Park.
- Each Regional Director must verify that there is general public support for proposed fee changes at each park.
National Parks in the Pacific West Region have until Jan. to send in comments collected to the Regional Office. The regional office will have until March 2, 2015 to send a report to Washington D.C. Each park is conducting outreach to gather input.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is taking comments until December 5th, 2014. Please visit Lassen Park website to leave your comment. You may check for timeline for comments at other National Parks by visiting their individual website.
Lassen park is also doing an outreach on November 22, 2014 in Chester, Ca at the Holiday Market from 10 am – 1 pm. Park Rangers will be available at an information booth. Please stop by and ask any questions you may have.
Lassen Volcanic National Park has prepared a News Release for proposed fee increases. One hundred percent of the revenue derived from passes sold at federal recreation sites directly benefit the selling agency and no less than 80 percent of the revenue will remain at the site where the pass was sold. Lassen Park anticipates with the full rate increase additional revenue of 800,000 to stay at Lassen Park.
Lassen park is looking at making the following improvements; Repair PCT, Warner Valley Campground rehabilitation, Children’s Exhibits for Visitor Center, Crags Campground Youth Camp, Kings Creek Overlook Trail rehabilitation , Rehab of Bumpass Hell Trail, and Summit Lake Campground road re-paving. As a visitor to Lassen Park if you feel that other improvements are needed please let the park know now.
Most of us agree that the National Parks are “the best idea America ever had.” Unfortunately due in part to our political system, both in Congress and with differing visions in the Park Service our parks are in need of over 11.3 billion in maintenance backlog at the end of fiscal year 2013.
What is it worth to you to make sure that our National Parks are maintained for future generations? From surveys done in 2000 only 11% of people paying a daily or weekly entrance fee and 4 % for an annual or lifetime pass felt they paid too much for the experience they received during their visit. Is a 100 to 150% fee increase too much though?
The National Park Service will be 100 years old in August of 2016. The original intent of our National Park System was to; “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Previous generations had the vision to set aside tracts of land and set-up the National Park Service for us to enjoy today. We need to have the vision to make sure future generations will be able to enjoy our National Parks.
This is your opportunity to offer any ideas on rate structure, fees, and maintenance needed at any of the 131 National Park Service Units looking at rate increases. Make your comments now. Writing your Congress person encouraging them to responsibility fund the National Park System may help in protecting our parks into the future.