Park Pass, Park Pass, Park Pass

I've just listened to a great audio program at The WildeBeat about the new America The Beautiful Public Lands Pass. Steve Sergeant, the shows producer, has put together a 10 minute mp3 broadcast covering not just the "what" of the pass, but also the history, and controversy surrounding the new pass. He talks with people in the Parks, Washington D.C., some hikers on a trail, and even Kurt Repanshek at the National Parks Traveler and Scott Silver at Wild Wilderness. It's really an excellent production. Here's the link to the intro and the audio link, which can be found on this page:

WildeBeat: Park Pass Pique

If you would rather read than listen, here is a news article and an editorial found via the "news worth tracking" section of the Wild Wilderness website.

#1) Big fee hikes at national parks are a bit too big (Klamath Falls, OR)
Yes, we know, a car full of kids or teens headed for the movies will pay more to get in to see 'Charlotte's Web' or 'Blood Diamond.'

But public taxes don't subsidize those movies, as they do the park system, and there's little important public interest served by encouraging people to see movies. There is a public purpose, though, in encouraging people to go to national parks, and they have already paid something toward entry fees through taxes.

The federal government should not discourage people from visiting the national parks and missing the educational aspects that come along with those visits. Yet that seems to be the direction large fee increases will likely take the park system.

#2) Lands pass of little use at West Slope BLM areas (Grand Junction, CO)
If you're considering picking up a new 'America the Beautiful' Pass for federal lands access anytime soon, caveat emptor: The pass can't be used for access to many Bureau of Land Management recreation areas in the region.

'Here, it just doesn't buy you anything,' unless you're planning to visit Arches or Canyonlands national parks, said Russ Von Koch, BLM Moab recreation branch chief.