Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Bygone Era of Public Parks

Trey Smith

The state Parks and Recreation Commission on Thursday authorized major changes in camping and other parks fees designed to offset the financial burden of legislative budget cuts and sagging sales of Discover Passes.

The commission, meeting at the Ocean Shores Convention Center, unanimously adopted state Parks staff recommendations to begin a “market-based system of competitive rates for facilities and services.” The revisions to fees and policies also establish the state Parks system as “a primarily fee-for-service agency,” according to an executive summary.

“I’ll be the first to say that we’re all treading into these new waters together,” said Assistant Parks Director Larry Fairleigh, noting that fees in the future may be set based on “what will the market bear.”

The decision allows the department to set higher fees for premier camp sights as well as impose tougher fee penalties for canceling reservations.

Under the new policy, the Commission establishes that all programs or services must have fees associated with them and that they all be self-sufficient and supported by revenues that cover costs.

Camping fees would start at $12 per night for a regular-primitive site; $25 for a regular-standard site; $30 for a regular-partial utility site; and $35 for a regular-utility site.

They would increase up to $15 a night for sites designated as “premier” sites during summers and other weekend or holidays, and standard sites could see fee increases up to $8 for certain weekends and holiday periods.
~ from Major Changes in State Parks Fees Coming by Angelo Bruscas ~
We should all know that this day was coming. This is what the "starve the government" crowd wants. When you set things up so that the government no longer possesses the requisite funds to maintain basic programs, then almost every service and program becomes profit-driven!

Mind you, all the citizens in this state have paid for these parks through the years via various taxes and fees. That's why they are referred to as public lands. But in the new America, only those of means will be provided the opportunity to make use of these public lands. The rest of can drive or walk by them, but we can't go in!

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