With 390 units in the national park system, it's understandably hard to keep track on each and every unit and what's new. But you'd think if you dialed up a park's web site, you'd be able to get the latest on that park, wouldn't you?
For instance, if you visited Yosemite's web site, you can with little trouble discover that it costs $20 to drive your car into the park. What seems to be missing, though, is news that the park currently is taking public comment on plans to boost that fee to $25 next year. You'd think park officials would want to publicize that, especially now that the clock is running on the comment phase, which runs until April 16th.
Oh, the news is there, just tucked away on this page, somewhat deep inside the web site. To find it, you'd have to first go to the site's "Management" link, click on the "Park Planning and Projects" link, and then drill further down into the "Fact Sheets" link. Once there, you'd have to click on the "Annual Recreation Fee Rate Change" link. Of course, even once you discover this page, there's absolutely no mention that comments are being taken on the proposed increase.
Just a thought, but for something as important as fee increases and public comment periods, perhaps it'd be wise to put a link to that on the home page, or the "Planning Your Visit" page. Something to consider.
Anyway, the folks at the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau are aware of the proposed increase, and don't like it at all. In fact, the bureau dashed off a letter to park officials saying now is not the right time to boost entrance fees.
"They just feel it's very bad timing. Why would you charge more when you're seeing less visitors?" Nanci Sikes, the bureau's executive director, told the Union Democrat.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman told the newspaper there have been scant few letters addressing the proposal received by park officials. He also added that park officials don't think a $5 increase in the entrance fee will prevent folks from visiting Yosemite.
Sikes, though, isn't so sure.
"It's just one more inhibitor to keep people from coming at a time when we're trying to increase visitation," she said.
You can read the entire story here.
To comment on the proposed increase, you can either write the superintendent at Yosemite, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, California, 95389, fax your thoughts to 209-372-0200, or email the superintendent at Yose_Superintendent@nps.gov.