What Suggestions Do You Have For the National Park Service?
The National Park Service likes to promote that visitors give the National Park System a 96 percent approval rating. That's pretty lofty, but is it accurate?
Remember the "good ole days" when you could buy a National Park Pass for $50, one that would get you into as many national parks as many times as you wanted during one calendar year? Remember the days when a backcountry permit was free? Remember when you didn't have to pay to park in a park?
Traveler reader Gary Wheeler remembers those days.
"I'm a huge national park fan and often get a yearly pass (that $80 will be hard to recoup this year)," he told us. "I also want to say I soured a great deal on the pass after recent trips. I found I had to pay at Devil's Postpile (National Monument) to take a shuttle into the park. I had to pay parking at Rushmore. ... Rushmore was particularly frustrating: 'We have free admission, but you have to pay to park.' If that's the case, then why did I buy a parks pass?
"I am finding way too many places where my pass does me no good and I am hit with hidden fees," says Mr. Wheeler.
To that end, he has a reasonable suggestion: The National Park Service on its website should provide a clear and easily understandable table "of all parks and monuments along with admission fees, parking fees, additional fees, etc. That would be so informative and so easy to implement."
Now, don't misunderstand. The national parks remain an incredible resource in this country. But from time to time everyone can learn from others and find better ways to operate, ways to improve business. With that understood, what suggestions do you, the true national park travelers, have for the National Park Service?