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November/December 2005

The Future Of National Parks

Everyone loves national parks--but are they being loved to death? Join representatives from the Park Service, Department of the Interior, Sierra Club, American Hiking Society, and more to explore the fate of this embattled American institution.

Bruce Hamilton Partnerships shouldn’t be a substitute for direct appropriations. The parks are the heritage and responsibility of all Americans. We all enjoy them, we all own them, and we all need to invest in their future–whether or not Kodak or Coca Cola is having a good day and feels generous. If they want to offer some money to augment existing budgets, that’s fine, but it’s the responsibility of Congress and the administration to appropriate funds to guarantee the perpetuation of the parks.

Don Barry Sponsorship and that kind of philanthropy should be add-on. It should be taking it to the next level. Instead, it is filling in potholes.

SHOULD THE PARKS RAISE FEES?

J.T. Reynolds We’re requesting an entrance-fee increase here [at Death Valley]. Right now it’s $10 and we’re asking to double that. I don’t see a problem with that, and I think the public is OK with it. When they can go a place like Walt Disney World and pay 50 bucks for a Passport, 20 bucks is a bargain.

Scott Silver User fees are at their core anti-democratic, the most aggressive form of taxation ever invented. Parks were set aside so people could interact with wilderness and their natural and cultural heritage. I haven’t been to a national park since fee demo. So long as park managers think of me as their customer, which they now do, then I have no intention of patronizing them.

Dave Foreman I’ve been disappointed with the conservation movement at it’s unwillingness to pay fees. The Golden Eagle Pass is one of the great bargains in America–it ought to be twice the price.

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