Amenity Fee Reaction
It will be interesting to see whether there's any great, continuing reaction to the spread of amenity fees across the park system. While many have read my initial post on the
matter, only one reader has taken the time to comment.
Does that signify indifference with how the parks should be funded? About whether they are closer to becoming an exclusive "pay to play" club? Does it not concern folks that not only is it costing more and more to simply enter a national park, but in more and more instances once inside you'll have to pay more to learn about the parks and their wonders?
I'm not sure. I hope not.
Here are two additional comments I received privately from members of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, a group very much concerned about the future of the park system.
"I continue to be very concerned about the fee surge," says Bill Wade, the chair of the coalition's executive council. "I think entrance fees are already dissuading visitors from going to parks, especially low income and often minority citizens. Now, as we see more and more parks begin to charge fees for interpretive and education programs we not only run the risk of turning people off to the idea of visiting parks, but for those who do visit, turning them off to the idea of learning about the very resources they are there to visit."
Rick Smith, a member of the executive council, added this:
"Of all the sins of this administration, the gutting of the Park Service interpretive operation is just about the most egregious as far as I am concerned."
What do you think? Does it concern you to have to pay to see a park interpretive film or to take a self-guided tour?