Thursday, July 2, 2009

National Park Service Take Over of State Parks is Bad Idea

The General has received a number of questions from the field regarding the proposal by the National Park Service to take-over a 6 or more units of the California State Park System including the state portion of the Redwood National and State Parks in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.
NYT-Greenwire Story


To some folks it may seem like a good idea. However, in my opinion it creates a number of recreation and access issues. Though some NPS units offer mostly non-motorized recreational opportunities, many NPS units manage their facilities as quasi-Wilderness areas where even non-motorized public access and use is discouraged.

For example, most of the public recreational opportunity (including hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and equestrian use) occurs on the state units of RNP. On the NPS lands, the feds appear to discourage public use via the small amount of trails available for non-motorized use, lack of staging/parking areas, onerous regulations, etc.

Also, if you think working with state parks is difficult… just try to “work” with the NPS in CA. In a late 1990s RNP plan amendment, the NPS stated in the document that their anti-access agenda would put the local commercial surf fisherman … “out of business.”

As politicians debate the budget in Sacramento, it would be my recommendation for them to look at implementing a “user-pay/user-benefit” program for regular state parks.
Those self-funding tools could include an increased entrance fee (such as a 15-20 dollar annual tag for your car, increased camping fees, etc.). What the public won’t support is an across-the-board fee for ALL vehicles regardless of if they use the park or not. Fees collected should be used for park-related on-the-ground public services.

At the end of the day, a take-over by the NPS of our state park units is unacceptable and a concept that should be rejected by lawmakers in Sacramento.

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