Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Proposing Fee Increase For Annual Passes

If you visit the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Georgia frequently, you might be interested to know the park is proposing to increase the cost of an annual pass by $10, to $35 a year.

"Our mission is to provide recreational opportunities for urban residents," said Superintendent Bill Cox. "We realize that many of our visitors come here to experience a national park for the first time. Many prefer to pay for one visit at a time. For these visitors, the one-day cost will remain at $3, as it has been since 2005.

"Our annual pass will go up to $35 to help us maintain services in danger of being cut by budget reductions, such as the BacteriAlert system, and build more visitor amenities, such as restrooms at popular sites such as Sope Creek."

In the federal fiscal year just ended (October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013), the park collected approximately $627,000 in fees. The park expects to raise an additional $120,000 per year through the proposed annual fee increase.

Public comments are now being taken on the proposed increase. You can send a comment via email. There will also be a public open house at park headquarters in Sandy Springs (1978 Island Ford Parkway, Sandy Springs, GA 30350) on Tuesday, December 3, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public comment period will end Friday, December 6, 2013.

Comments

It will be interesting to see if the retired desk rangers at the Coalition of NPS Retires will attack it as a "recreational poll tax" as they did Sen. Coburn's proposal to increase fees. Somehow I doubt it, in their minds the agency itself is infallable but proposals for reform from the outside are always wrong.

Keep increasing those fees and at some point real soon the need for actual NPS field rangers, interpreters, and resource managers will become unnecessary. It can all be easily contracted out to a concessionaire, i.e., a private company, state/local government, Indian tribe. USFS is already doing this at many of its recreation sites and NPS has done this at many of its campgrounds as well. NPS has recently been effusively positive about its turning over management of the south unit of Badlands NP to an indian tribe. The drumbeat from the states to take over management control of federal lands has begun. By NPS constantly raising fees to pay for public services on their own (no matter what the reason why) they are digging their own grave regarding the viability of an NPS made up of other than administrators.

I agree SLC72. I have always felt reasonable entrance and camping fees were appropriate, and in the case of Chattahoochee the day fee is minimal and the increase for the annual pass is not totally out of line, but you are right, it is a slippery slope.