Letter: Make national parks free
Wednesday’s Wilderness Workshop Naturalist Nights lecture by Dr. Melanie Armstrong of Western State University couldn’t have been more timely. Titled “Nature Should be Free,” it came on the same day nine of the 12 members of the National Park Service Advisory Board resigned in frustration with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s refusal to even meet with them.
According to National Public Radio, former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, a board member, said the DOI “showed no interest in science, the effect of climate change, protections of the ecosystems, education, and has rescinded NPS regulations concerning biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.” Zinke has proposed tripling entrance fees at our most popular national parks.
Armstrong, a former employee of the park service, said the entrance fees currently charged just about pay the wages of the people who collect the fees, and that’s it. It occurred to me, if we just quit collecting fees, it’s a push; no money in, no money out.
Fees should be collected at the visitor’s centers, the lodges, and for camping, but just entering the park is free. Of course, with no restrictions, this would result in a mob scene. Severe restrictions should be in place about the number of visitors the park can handle, just like, we hope, we will have at Hanging Lake. And you park your car at the park gate and take the bus into park, just like you do at the Maroon Bells.
Fred Malo Jr.
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