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Your National Parks Pass Doesn't Always Cover Your Entrance Fee


Morugeorge_copy     When doesn't your $50 National Parks Pass cover the cost of entering a unit of the national park system? When you visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, that's when.
    You see, while your pass gets you through the Park Service's entrance gate, you'll have to shell out $8 to park inside the memorial!
    In what sure seems like an example of the privatizing of your parks, it turns out that the parking garage was not built with federal dollars, but rather by Presidential Parking, Inc. -- catchy name, no? -- and that company controls the parking at the memorial. We will next run into Grand Canyon Parking, Inc., or Yosemite Valley Parking, Inc.?
    If there's an upside to this fee, it's good for an entire year. Of course, that's probably little solace if you drove there from New Jersey. Oh, and if you think you can avoid the fee by parking on the shoulder of the road leading to the memorial, don't try that, as Scott Silver from Wild Wilderness tells me the South Dakota State Police will be happy to ticket your rig.
    Of course, what really makes this sadly ironic is that Mount Rushmore in the past has graced the National Parks Pass.


This annoyed me on a summer-long road trip in 2000. I was still in college and didn't have much money, fortunately for me the booth attendant was a similarly aged college girl who gave in to my wily charm and let me in for freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Aren't there free parking lots way down the hill? Its been six years and I don't remember too much about it.

One day you should do a review of the Canadian National Park system. For example: Annual National Parks vehicle passes for both countries: Canada = US$111.35 (C$123.80) USA = US$50

Well, this only goes back to my message that a very thorough audit needs to be done on exactly where the money is generated and where it is going! I don't consider this privatization as much as I think it is monetization of the National Parks. Everything is about generating revenue and very little foresight and planning is given to the Park Service's true mission. Again, the majority of the parks were supposed to be bought and paid for decades or centuries ago yet we keep paying as if they weren't!

Presidential Parking Inc.? Sounds like something a sleazy K Street lobbyist would be involved in. In any case, it sure doesn't bode well for this or any other unit in the Park System.

Looks like your National Parks pass doesn't get you into Canyon de Chelly either since it is mandatory that you hire a Navajo guide and jeep to see the ruins.

Geez, it's $15 an HOUR in Canyon de Chelly. Mt. Rushmore is a bargain by comparison.

Some NPS units like Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area charge "Parking Fees" to get you to pay fees that the National Park Pass do not cover.

Maybe those who put out the park passes should do some research! They caused nothing but headaches for those at Mount Rushmore. It's not Mount Rushmore's fault that they were featured on the pass!

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