LETTER: Write to Congress, Park Service over proposed hikes

Oppose park fee hikes

Last year was the centennial of our National Park System.

“America’s best idea” was the phrase trumpeted around the anniversary, according to media reports.

And folks who have visited our parks — Acadia to Zion, Everglades to Denali, Grand Canyon to Gettysburg — may well agree that phrase is apt.

I speak for many friends when I say access to Olympic National Park is a big reason I live in the Pacific Northwest.

Now we face the prospect of seventeen of America’s most popular national parks, including Olympic and Rainier, having entry fees nearly tripled, to $70 per vehicle. (“Huge fee hike for park proposed,” PDN, Oct. 27)

At a time when our country’s youth are increasingly disconnected with nature and history, this is a sad way indeed to kick off the next hundred years of the national parks vision.

The Trump administration claims fee increases are needed to pay for maintenance, according to media reports, but if anything they will keep more people away.

At the same time, the federal budget calls for nearly $400 million park service cuts. (“Trump could make visiting a national park more expensive than a Six Flags ticket,” Washington Post, Oct. 26).

We can guess how this story will play out if the proposed increased park entry fee happens.

Visitation will drop.

Park infrastructure will continue declining and management will suffer.

And calls will arise among Republicans for privatization of services, if not the parks themselves.

Definitely not what that Republican champion of conservation, Teddy Roosevelt, had in mind.

Please tell the Park Service to keep our parks affordable with reasonable entrance fees.

Ask Congress to put tax dollars toward park needs.

Invoking Woody Guthrie, tell them “this land is our land.”

The Park Service is accepting comments on its proposed entrance fee increase at www.parkplanning.nps.gov until Dec. 22.

Will Patric,

Port Townsend

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