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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP

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Offline Picacho

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« on: December 05, 2006, 08:34:55 AM »
I hope this isn't a repeat.  No more free backcountry permits.  I guess the federal government has wasted all of our tax dollars.  I guess it's $10 a night out in the backcountry now?  

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Effective January 1, 2007, Big Bend National Park will be increasing visitor entrance fees as directed by the results of a nationwide National Park Service fee study that sought to provide consistency of fees charged between parks of similar sizes and resources.  Therefore, the single vehicle entrance fee will increase from $15 to $20.  The per person and motorcycle fee will increase from $5 to $10.  Both passes are good for up to a one-week stay.  The park’s Annual Pass will increase from $30 to $40, and will be valid for one full year after the date of purchase.  Additionally, a backcountry and river use fee of $10.00 per permit will be charged, with all revenue being used for backcountry-related projects.



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Offline Al

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2006, 09:11:27 AM »
If you get a back country permit for 1 night yes.  If you get a permit for a week then no.

Al

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Offline RichardM

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2006, 09:11:52 AM »
Not quite a repeat.  It was discussed quite a bit here.  I think the consensus was that a backcountry permit could be for multiple campsites, but I don't think that was ever confirmed.

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Offline okiehiker

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Backcountry fees...
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2006, 09:17:09 AM »
The fee is per permit rather than per night.  So if I am out at primitive campsites and wish to move, or am backpacking site to site or zone to zone, I only get one permit.  

You probably will be charged again if you change your itinerary and go apply for a new permit.  

The direction our federal government is moving is user fees for everything.  Pretty soon they will be charging you if the police or fire department comes to your house.
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline Al

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2006, 09:23:21 AM »
Quote from: "RichardM"
Not quite a repeat.  It was discussed quite a bit here.  I think the consensus was that a backcountry permit could be for multiple campsites, but I don't think that was ever confirmed.


I hereby confirm.  We usually get our permit for a week or so at a time.

Al

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Offline Casa Grande

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2006, 12:00:47 PM »
The word I got this past summer from an interpretive ranger was it's 10 bucks PER PERMIT, not per night.   The idea was to keep folks from changing their permits every few days as it adds more work for the fine folks behind the counter.  The money is supposed to go towards the upkeep of the backcountry campsites, which I'm not opposed to. But, it's still the gov't we're dealing with so who knows.

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Offline dryer

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Re: Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2006, 12:33:40 PM »
Quote from: "attm"
I hope this isn't a repeat.  No more free backcountry permits.  I guess the federal government has wasted all of our tax dollars.  I guess it's $10 a night out in the backcountry now?  

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Effective January 1, 2007, Big Bend National Park will be increasing visitor entrance fees as directed by the results of a nationwide National Park Service fee study that sought to provide consistency of fees charged between parks of similar sizes and resources.  Therefore, the single vehicle entrance fee will increase from $15 to $20.  The per person and motorcycle fee will increase from $5 to $10.  Both passes are good for up to a one-week stay.  The park’s Annual Pass will increase from $30 to $40, and will be valid for one full year after the date of purchase.  Additionally, a backcountry and river use fee of $10.00 per permit will be charged, with all revenue being used for backcountry-related projects.


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It's a resonable increase but I'm not sure I like their "reasoning".
"...fees as directed by the results of a nationwide National Park Service fee study that sought to provide consistency of fees charged between parks of similar sizes and resources."
Huh?  It's not that they 'need' the money, it's that they want to be like everyone else.
KD5IVP, Texas

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Offline presidio

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Re: Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2006, 01:11:31 PM »
Quote from: "dryer"
It's a resonable increase but I'm not sure I like their "reasoning".
"...fees as directed by the results of a nationwide National Park Service fee study that sought to provide consistency of fees charged between parks of similar sizes and resources."
Huh?  It's not that they 'need' the money, it's that they want to be like everyone else.

While I don't agree it's reasonable, you are correct about their rationale. This kind of logic is circular and can only result in additional increases since there is no oversight by the public.

I have been unable to find ANY information that this increase was EVER put out to the public for comment. It was unilateral and without the public involvement that every other agency must do when proposing changes affecting fees.

GUMO did exactly the same thing recently where they were proposing to increase their $3 fee for merely walking in the park (you could go into the visitor center and use all the electricity and water you wanted in the restrooms for free, but you can't walk a trail there now without paying).

The fee was going to go to $10 per person...no discussion, no justification, but the park did 'solicit' comments.

There was a huge negative reaction to the increase from users, local newspapers, political types, etc. So, what did the park do? Well, the superintendent 'heard you' and was therefore going to only raise the fee to $5.

It was obvious the increase was a done deal from the outset and no amount of comment was going to change that, despite all the warm fuzzy invitations to participate. In stating the reduced increase the park made it sound like it was doing everyone a favor.

It was clear the park was completely caught off guard by the negative reaction, but that did not dissuade them from doing the increase anyway.

Also clear was the fact that public comment was for show only. The superintendent stated in his letter that the park had requested approval from the regional office to do the raise. At no point did the park ever provide any material supporting a need for an increase, nor did they even make any reference that such a study had been done. They did because they knew they could get away with it and it did not matter what anyone thought.

The NPS is incrementally disconnecting from their constituency with stupid stunts like this. If you like the backcountry fee, you will be overjoyed at the new developed campground fee of $15 a night beginning January. That's for a place to throw your tent, a water spigot over there, and a restroom that way. If you are in a travel trailer you can go to Stillwell's where, for a couple more dollars, you can have full hookups. Since parks are supposed to base pricing on area businesses I wonder where they got the model for charging such a high fee without any associated services?

No public input on that one either.
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Offline dryer

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Re: Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2006, 02:43:08 PM »
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Since parks are supposed to base pricing on area businesses I wonder where they got the model for charging such a high fee without any associated services?

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, best I can tell.  The fees are similar to the NPS proposed fee structure.  And, like you, I see nothing about a public hearing.  I serve on the Dallas County Trail and Preserve Board (county park board) and public hearings are law.
Interestingly, I participated in a "public" hearing for Big Bend N.P. when an radio repeater was proposed for Rosillos mountain last year.  I wrote a lengthy letter advising them to place an amateur radio repeater on the mountain as well as park service and homeland security repeaters.  I only received the final decision which didn't address my concern, only a 'thank you' for inquiring.   In Big Bend, I can cover the entire park north of the Basin, including Alpine, 911, and Ft. Davis on my car radio and walkie talkie, easily, using the Christmas Mtn. repeater owned by the Brewster County Amateur Radio Club.  With an additional repeater on Rosillos, the entire park could be covered with a walkie talkie, making emergency communications much more robust, without cell phone towers sprouting up  everywhere.  No consideration.  
As you say, done deal from the beginning.   They were only running the legal wickets.
Problem is, 'we the people' don't hold them accountable.
KD5IVP, Texas

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2006, 03:06:05 PM »
so how many nights can you get on one permit?

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Offline Casa Grande

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2006, 03:21:38 PM »
Quote from: "01ACRViper"
so how many nights can you get on one permit?


you can stay up to 14 days in a row in the park.  so you can get a permit for up to 14 days no matter how many "permits" they have to actually write up.

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2006, 03:25:07 PM »
Quote from: "Casa Grande"
Quote from: "01ACRViper"
so how many nights can you get on one permit?


you can stay up to 14 days in a row in the park.  so you can get a permit for up to 14 days no matter how many "permits" they have to actually write up.


cool, thanks. i better get 3 or 4 different trips lined up, just in case one or more of them are filled :(

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Offline presidio

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Re: Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2006, 03:37:18 PM »
Quote from: "dryer"
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, best I can tell.  The fees are similar to the NPS proposed fee structure.


If that's the case, it would be similar to the NPS using internal comparisons. These kinds of things should be based on the business sector, not other governmental entities, otherwise true market forces are not represented or considered.

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I serve on the Dallas County Trail and Preserve Board (county park board) and public hearings are law.


As well for the NPS. However, it appears they think they have found a creative way around the messy public participation process by doing as they are.

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Interestingly, I participated in a "public" hearing for Big Bend N.P. when an radio repeater was proposed for Rosillos mountain last year.  I wrote a lengthy letter advising them to place an amateur radio repeater on the mountain as well as park service and homeland security repeaters.  I only received the final decision which didn't address my concern, only a 'thank you' for inquiring.  With an additional repeater on Rosillos, the entire park could be covered with a walkie talkie, making emergency communications much more robust, without cell phone towers sprouting up  everywhere.  No consideration.


You have to wonder about the decision-making abilities of the people involved in this. While the organization makes much of public service and visitor safety, it frequently has an extremely difficult time seeing beyond its own insular interests. Clearly, if there had been some compelling reason to dismiss this, they certainly could have told you. By not responding it would appear they just didn't like the idea rather than having an articulable objection. Whether there would be 2 or 3 repeaters, what real difference to the NPS would the 3rd have made? None. They wouldn't install it or maintain it, but they would ultimately have benefited in serving the public from its presence there.

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As you say, done deal from the beginning.   They were only running the legal wickets. Problem is, 'we the people' don't hold them accountable.


Sadly, a large percentage of NPS visitors seem to have the view the NPS can do no wrong and that any action by the agency is okay regardless of reason or whether it makes sense. History shows otherwise. There is no other federal land agency that has this sort of slavish devotion.

The other agencies engage in robust public involvement and, at times, contentious debate over proposed actions. Because of that, better decisions are made.

I have been directly involved in public actions where both the USFS and BLM issued proposals for recreational fees and where public reaction in the comment phase resulted in no fees being established.

There are lots of other instances beyond fee issues of that happening, where public involvement leads to significant changes in the proposals. By ensuring public debate, you have an external balance against agencies and employees who succumb to a proprietary feeling of ownership or 'knowing what is best' when in fact their view is clouded by being too close to what they are doing and losing objectivity. That is a situation very prevalent in the NPS and manifested in edicts such as the backcountry fee implementation.
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SHANEA

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A Bargin...
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2006, 05:06:58 PM »
A bargin!  

Now, if you are a holder of a Annual Pass to BIBE or NPS - how is this changed?

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Big Bend Park Fees Going WAY UP
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2006, 08:06:32 PM »
I agree with ShaneA - even with the new fee's it's still a bargin.  Especially for me since I usually spend most of my time in the backcountry zone camping or wandering out in the Sierra Quemada's.

I doubt most of the backcountry permit money will actually BE spent on backcountry projects though.   This sounds a lot like the State of Texas special sales taxes which are supposed to go to specific projects but mainly go into the General Fund instead.... TWWG

 


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