Recent comments

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   5 days 19 hours ago

    I'm happy to have all taxpayers pay towards the basic protection of a park area - law enforcement, resource management, poaching prevention, etc. However, visitation isn't "free" regardless of whether a user fee is charged or not. Visitor centers, tour roads, trail maintenance, and ranger programs all cost money - and the more people who visit, the more these things cost. It only makes sense to make the people who are actually visiting contribute to covering the additional costs of their visit.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   5 days 20 hours ago

    For a bunch of supposed backpackers, you can visit one of these preserved natural gems in the West for well under 50.00, if you choose. Yellowstone cost 25.00 to get in, and 25.00 for a backcountry permit. Yosemite cost 25.00 to get in, then a 5.00 permit registration fee, and 5.00 per night per person to visit the backcountry, although depending on your route permits are limited, but you'll always be able to do something there because not all zones get filled. Grand Canon cost 10.00 for a permit registration, then 5.00 per night. Then there are other parks where the fee is 10.00 to get in, and backcountry camping is free, but you still need a permit. By comparison, the Smokies doesn't even have a registration fee, and is just 4.00 per night, and in my opinion it's a Group 1 park, like the other three mentioned. If you can't afford 50.00 to spend a week in a place, then your biggest concern shouldn't be hiking.. As for staying in hotels. Yes, there is very limited lodging availability in our parks, so your best and cheaper options are staying outside of the park, or getting a tent.. Inside the park, it can be 10 to 25.00 to get a campsite. Even if you spent 5 days in Yellowstone at one of the more developed campgrounds, that's just 125.00 to spend the week there. That's at least 2 nights in a cheap 1 star roach motel, or one night in one with at least a 4 star rating. Yes, such elitism at play...

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 4 hours ago

    In the early days of the National Parks only the wealthy few could afford the time and effort required to visit them. So they were enclaves of the elite. After WWII and through the Mission 66 years they became accessible to people of more limited means. With the new and increased fees that emerged under Fee Demo that pendulum began to swing back.

    These new increases, and the "pay to play" philosophy that underlies them, bring us full circle. Once again the Parks are becoming enclaves for the elite few who can afford $200 a night for a cabin on the north rim of Grand Canyon, or $600+ for the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite.

    More than most people I fully understand the difference between National Parks and National Forests.

    The Parks are where the fee stations are.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 4 hours ago

    You guys obviously don't understand the difference between a national park and a national forest. To you it's all the same and you think the rules and regulations should be the same that you find in the lesser managed places that let you do what you want. And seriously horse use and the rules legislating them are a lot less strict in the National Forest areas... Are you guys really just trying to mess with people? Sometimes I wonder, if all the misinformation and garbage spewed on this site 24/7 is just one big joke to you. Because it's evident many of you have little understanding about why National parks are held at higher levels of resource protection, and seem to want others to just buy into rampant conspiracy theories that you can find on any teaparty.com site. One would expect that the readership here would have a better comprehension of land management, and understand the differences between the various organizations that manage public lands, but I assumed too much, and that's definitely my fault.

    And once again, to these Tennessee residents, that can only whine about how bad it is in the smokies - seriously, it's getting old. Your fiddle has worn out. I realize most of you have never been anywhere else in the national park system, so you aren't used to having to pay for anything. Your extent of the NPS world is perhaps big south fork, and cumberland gap, where everything is also free, so you just beat the same old drum, and this site is constantly stuck in the same old whiney rhythms day-in-and-day-out, because a few of you refuse to learn something about other areas, or try to comprehend the importance of the public lands that you actually have in your back yard. You think this public land is just supposed to sit there and be free, and youre wrong - it comes with a cost to manage public lands, and if you think public lands don't need managed, then you are very delusional. I think Megaera's comment were right on. But, Megaera the problem with that is some of these boys don't want to be contributors and they EXPECT others to pay and hand everything to them. It's an entitlement mentality that dates back a little more than a hundred some years, and it's just how they were raised..

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 5 hours ago

    "I've seen many of the National Forests around this region. A lot of them are trashed, compared to what you find in national parks"

    Yeah, i've seen the ghetto trail shelters with their privies and mile after mile of absolutely horrid muddy swamps from horseback riders too. Which i might add is far worse than any trail conditions i've ever encountered in a national forest as of now. And i don't think we need to even talk about trees being cut after that one certain article that was on here.

    "People who use the parks should pay for their use, the same way people who drive pay a gas tax to build and repair roads."

    So using your own two feet to travel, using no amenities is grounds for a fee? Okay, sure, if you drive a road in a park or use facilities that cost money to maintain. But even then if and only if they have stretched their dollars to the bare minimum first, which often isn't the case.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 8 hours ago

    My heartburn on this issue is a result of the astounding amount of government waste and how it impacts the allocation of funds for the NPS. After you read this, go to your choice of search engine and look up "government waste". How is it possible that funds cannot be directed to what I consider the greatest of gifts? If after you read this and you are unable to make the connection, I can't say anymore to convince you otherwise.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 9 hours ago

    Let's see . . . How much does a day in Dizzyworld cost?

    As for taxes, a new Megaplex theater is under construction nearby. The city is building a new road to serve it. The city has laid water and sewer lines to serve it. And the city has given them a two-year "tax holiday."

    Should I be able to go to movies for free now?

    Then there are the football and baseball stadiums all around the country that were built on similar deals to keep their wealthy owners happy and prevent them from taking their teams and leaving town.

    Free football or baseball or basketball tickets anyone?

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 9 hours ago

    I know that smokies backpacker always belittles me for doing such activities and so I know he spends little to any time outside of Tennessee.

    Wow Gary you've really put your foot in that one. Perhaps you should ask smokies backpacker for a copy of his e-book about his latest Himalayan expedition.

  • Parkway Inn, Inc. Retains Contract To Run Pisgah Inn Along Blue Ridge Parkway   6 days 9 hours ago

    This was great news. I've stayed and eaten at the Pisgah Inn many times and look forward to doing many more.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 10 hours ago

    I am not one of those people who live in Tennessee and haven't traveled more than twenty miles from home (I've been to all but three of the fifty states, and dozens of national parks), and I think raising the fees is wrong because it's elitist, the same way that raising lodging prices is.

    I also think the *inequity* of fees is wrong. Why should Mt. Rainier NP cost $15 for an entrance fee when it's free to get into the Smokies? You folks in the Smokies have *no idea* how good you have it, to be able to get into your local national park for free. None. Whatsoever.

    If the NPS *really* wants to balance its budget, it will fix the inequity (IOW, figure out a way to get round that legal fiasco), and the fees from the Smokies alone (the park with the most visits, BTW) will help more than anything else.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 11 hours ago

    Fees are not "double taxation." They're entirely voluntary. I agree that the NPS, like all government agencies, could and should be better stewards of the money they receive. But, while God may have created the land, we have charged the government with protecting it. That costs money. People who use the parks should pay for their use, the same way people who drive pay a gas tax to build and repair roads. That seems little enough to ask.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 11 hours ago

    I've seen many of the National Forests around this region. A lot of them are trashed, compared to what you find in national parks, like the Smokies.I went to the cherokee NF to do some hellbender surveys, and so many trees were cut around the campsite areas, and it was not anywhere near as protected as what you find in the Smokies. You could tell it was a free-for-all party place. It's a free for all in the USFS areas, and it shows. You go up to the wilderness areas like the Shining Rock, and Linville Gorge, and you find a Dr Seuss line of tents crowded into areas because it's free. Like I said, if you don't mind the place looking like a used up trailer park, then I can understand why you think all places should look and function like that. At least there is campsite number limits, permits and regulations in the National Parks.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 11 hours ago

    Actually, many national forests dont charge entrance fees, are much larger than national parks, and get along just fine. The amount one travels has nothing to do with what is wrong or right. Go lay troll bait elsewhere.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 11 hours ago

    Actually, the government protects these lands. Without the NPS it would be overran and the resources would be destroyed. You guys obviously skipped out on the history behind the Park Service, and sound clueless, like usual. Maybe if there weren't buffalo soldiers, there would be no buffalo. Just this morning when I entered the Smokies, I saw maintence spray painting the park sign brown again, because some idiot tagged it. I guess if you don't mind that your park looks like a used up trailer park, then that's one thing.

    Secondly, how many of you that are whining about this actually travel to other National parks? I know that smokies backpacker always belittles me for doing such activities and so I know he spends little to any time outside of Tennessee. The question is how many of you actually spent time beyond just the Smokies, since the only ones complaining about this seem to be the Southern Forest Watch crowd (steve gorge, john quillen, myers morton, etc), and from what I see none of you travel much beyond the 20 miles from where you were born. Outside of the Smokies, fees are common in just about every park in the west, and even in parks like Shenandoah in the East, and have been that way since many of those parks establishment.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 11 hours ago

    Poor NPS crying again and how many fall for their lies. Totally lost sight of their mission since the national parks are now nothing more than revenue generators. They ought to learn how to make do or do without like everyone else. Charging fees to enter God created NOT government created lands is wrong on many levels, especially when tax dollars already fund the basic needs of visitors. Learn to make do with what you have. If they want more young people to start visiting parks, raising already ridiculous fees wont help that. Hypocrites.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 12 hours ago
    No John, Steve is just another American that is sick of the NPS lying to double tax citizens to use public lands. And that is what they are supposed to be. Jarvis' NPS has a track record of ignoring public comments and civic engagement is a widely held myth to which the NPS is not bound and doesn't even read. There is plenty of documentation to that effect. No one wants to give more money to a agency that treats its "customers" like that. And the NPS isn't disneyworld. That is the dumbest analogy in the world. This should be a message to the agency. Your abuse of fee authority is calling FLREA into question and I for one have contacted my reps to ask for its repeal. Like my representative said, "the NPS does what it wants to regardless of what we say."
  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 12 hours ago

    While I believe that Rick's comparison is flawed, I too have no problem paying fees to enter a National Park that has highly variable operating expense based on the number of visitors. No doubt $30 for a family of four to visit Yellowstone for a week is a bargain. Now for the single person driving through for the day, it might seem high. Perhaps entry should be sold on a scaled 1/3/7 day basis to more fairly allocate the fees.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 12 hours ago

    Rick Smith makes a valid point about subsidizing other forms of entertainment, and I wonder if Steve George actually believes what he says. Fees should be kept low because we pay for the parks with taxes? What about the 40-some percent who pay no income taxes? Should they then have to pay fees, since they're not paying through the tax code? I doubt those complaining about higher fees would agree with that. $80 for an annual pass is the best bargain in the world. It would still be the best bargain at twice the price. I use the parks, I'm happy to pay to get in, just as I do for other activities.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 13 hours ago

    This is right up there with the unreasonable increases in lodging prices.

    They don't want "regular people" to visit the parks anymore.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 13 hours ago

    Well, Steve, I guess you don't live in New Mexico. Here enormous amounts of tax dollars are used to subsidize movie and tv productions. So, we pay twice;; once with our tax dollars to entice shows like "Breaking Bad" to be filmed here and once to see it on Netflix or whatever.

    Rick

  • National Park Service Addresses Ticketing Problems At USS Arizona Memorial   6 days 13 hours ago

    While allegations of staff misconduct were investigated, Mr. Dalby said Privacy Act considerations prevent the agency from discussing the outcome of those investigations.

    Doesn't the freedom of information act apply here? Knowing a number of people in the tourism industry over the years it would not be a stretch to think some kickbacks were involved. Witholding the results of the investigation does not make the park service look good as people will assume the worst.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 14 hours ago

    ..."if supported by civic engagement". Right...and the moon is made of smoked gouda. This decision is a lock folks. It has been rendered thus by the oligarchs.

    Find the funds elsewhere Director Jarvis. Try harder.

    And Sabattis, we don't pay for the movie theater with our tax dollars.

  • There Likely Is A National Park Fee Increase In Your Future...   6 days 15 hours ago

    Amazing to think that you can't even take a family of four to the movies for two hours for $30, and people are going to get up in arms about $30 to take a family to Yellowstone National Park for an entire week! I'm glad Director Jarvis is pushing forward with this as this proposal is going to generate funds for much-needed improvements to national parks, by asking people who love the parks the most to contribute a little bit towards the cost of their visit.

  • National Park Service Addresses Ticketing Problems At USS Arizona Memorial   6 days 16 hours ago

    I'm visiting Hawaii for the first time next week and I will be visiting the USS Arizona NMEM as well. For months I've been trying to get hold of reasonably-timed tickets for the ship through the recreation.gov website, without success. I took then tickets for an afternoon visit as it wasn't possible - even four, five months in advance - to get a reservation for the early morning hours.

  • Parkway Inn, Inc. Retains Contract To Run Pisgah Inn Along Blue Ridge Parkway   6 days 19 hours ago

    Based on our experience with an overnight stay 2 years ago and several meals in the restaurant since then, I'd rate this as a good decision. The present small company seems to be doing a good job operating the Inn.