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Old 06-03-09, 07:08 AM   #1
Ka_Jun
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National parks to offer fee-free weekends

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/06/02...ees/index.html

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It's hardly a bailout, but the federal government is hoping that waiving fees at national parks will help boost local economies across the country.


All 147 National Park Service sites that charge entry fees will waive them for three weekends this summer.

On three weekends this summer, the National Park Service will offer fee-free weekends to encourage cash-strapped families to visit the parks.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the initiative Tuesday at a news conference at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.

"National parks also serve as powerful economic engines for local communities, and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area," Salazar said.

Many national parks were bracing for a busy summer, and this improves the tourism forecast, said George Price, superintendent of Cape Cod National Seashore.

"Sometimes, when the economy downturns, places like the seashore see an upsurge because people choose to stay closer to home," Price said. "Visitation will be very strong this year. The question will be how much people will actually spend when they come to visit."


All 147 National Park Service sites that charge entry fees will waive them for June 20 and 21, July 18 and 19, and August 15 and 16. Those fees range from $3 to $25.

Last year, national parks attracted more than 275 million recreation visits.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:12 AM   #2
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road trip!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-03-09, 07:21 AM   #3
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Just read yesterday over in a BackPackers forum, very sad.
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http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_124811...ce=most_viewed

Nearly every state park in the Bay Area — from the towering redwoods at Big Basin to Angel Island, Mount Tamalpais to Mount Diablo and every state beach from Año Nuevo in San Mateo County to Big Sur — would close as part of budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In all, 220 of California's 279 state parks, about 80 percent, would be padlocked starting as soon as Labor Day, under details of a historic closing plan released Thursday night by the state parks department.

"We've never been in as serious a predicament as we are facing right now. It is potentially devastating," said state parks spokesman Roy Stearns.

Layoffs could hit 1,500 or more of the 2,900 state parks employees, Stearns added.

"This is a clear indication of the absolute seriousness of the state budget deficit. We have driven to the cliff and some would argue we are already falling off the cliff."

On Tuesday, as part of an effort to close the state's $24 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger unveiled a series of proposed cuts. They included a plan to eliminate $70 million in state general fund money to parks in the year that ends in June 2010 and $143 million of that funding by June 2011. The latter number represents 40 percent of the state park system's $387 million operating budget.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:24 AM   #4
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Yeah, well if the states would stop absconding with the gate fees the parks would be viable. NY's Letchworth is a fine example.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:52 AM   #5
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Just read yesterday over in a BackPackers forum, very sad.
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http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_124811...ce=most_viewed

Nearly every state park in the Bay Area — from the towering redwoods at Big Basin to Angel Island, Mount Tamalpais to Mount Diablo and every state beach from Año Nuevo in San Mateo County to Big Sur — would close as part of budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In all, 220 of California's 279 state parks, about 80 percent, would be padlocked starting as soon as Labor Day, under details of a historic closing plan released Thursday night by the state parks department.

"We've never been in as serious a predicament as we are facing right now. It is potentially devastating," said state parks spokesman Roy Stearns.

Layoffs could hit 1,500 or more of the 2,900 state parks employees, Stearns added.

"This is a clear indication of the absolute seriousness of the state budget deficit. We have driven to the cliff and some would argue we are already falling off the cliff."

On Tuesday, as part of an effort to close the state's $24 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger unveiled a series of proposed cuts. They included a plan to eliminate $70 million in state general fund money to parks in the year that ends in June 2010 and $143 million of that funding by June 2011. The latter number represents 40 percent of the state park system's $387 million operating budget.
Yeah, we're in it over here, too.

That said, shoot, NPS has some great parks...hit 'em up.
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Old 06-03-09, 08:09 AM   #6
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Just read yesterday over in a BackPackers forum, very sad.
Would you rather the state become insolvent? California would be the first state ever, ever, to default on its debts. No state has ever gone bankrupt. Doing so would deal a huge blow to the credit ratings of every other state and municipality across the country. You think state income and sales and other such taxes are bad now? Wait until your state can no longer issue bonds at less than 7%.
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Old 06-03-09, 08:10 AM   #7
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I went to Sequoia a few weeks ago. And paid for it.
I'd do it again
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Old 06-03-09, 09:13 AM   #8
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Every weekend is free at GSMNP.
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Old 06-03-09, 09:17 AM   #9
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Anyone been to Cuyahoga Valley, thinking of going.
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Old 06-03-09, 10:38 AM   #10
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We visited a national park a couple summers ago and were asked to leave because I picked my six month old out of the stroller to see if he might need a daiper change or not. The Security guard said that was disrespectful. I wonder if the CA state parks are just as over regulated as well. Went down to the Smoky Mountain State park and one of the picnic areas was like a mall parking lot, paved spaces with big curbs and sidewalks over to a paved platform with a grill and picnic table, thats not a picnic when its no different than the outdoor table at mcdonalds. I like the state/national forests better, leave them wilderness, if I want to picnic I'll take my own grill, put a blanket on the ground and have my picnic there, I don't want to have to stay n a sidewalk.
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Old 06-03-09, 03:10 PM   #11
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Anyone been to Cuyahoga Valley, thinking of going.
I drive through it every day, and bike portions of it on the weekends. What do you want/need to know?
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Old 06-04-09, 08:34 AM   #12
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I drive through it every day, and bike portions of it on the weekends. What do you want/need to know?
Worth a trip out? Beautiful? I read something about a train you can ride on.
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Old 06-04-09, 03:45 PM   #13
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Worth a trip out? Beautiful? I read something about a train you can ride on.
Well let me try to describe the park to you. It is about 30 miles long and about 1/2 mile wide. It has some nice spots to visit, including Brandywine Falls, A canal visitor center, and the Cuyahoga Valley Line (the train). There is the towpath trail which is an old canalway path.If you bring your bike you can ride the train for $2. Some people ride the train to one end of the park then bike back. What is nice is the Summit County Metroparks intertwine with the CVNP, which give you a little more to do.

So seeing you only a couple of hours away, I would make a trip to see it, you only really need about a day if you are just seeing the CVNP, but there are many other things to do in the area. It basically runs from downtown Cleveland to downtown Akron.

If you are into hiking there are plenty of place to hike, none too difficult.
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Old 06-04-09, 04:37 PM   #14
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We visited a national park a couple summers ago and were asked to leave because I picked my six month old out of the stroller to see if he might need a daiper change or not. The Security guard said that was disrespectful. I wonder if the CA state parks are just as over regulated as well. Went down to the Smoky Mountain State park and one of the picnic areas was like a mall parking lot, paved spaces with big curbs and sidewalks over to a paved platform with a grill and picnic table, thats not a picnic when its no different than the outdoor table at mcdonalds. I like the state/national forests better, leave them wilderness, if I want to picnic I'll take my own grill, put a blanket on the ground and have my picnic there, I don't want to have to stay n a sidewalk.
I concur GSMNP is one of my least favorite because it is ridiculously crowded. They should charge a fee there.
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Old 06-04-09, 04:44 PM   #15
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I concur GSMNP is one of my least favorite because it is ridiculously crowded. They should charge a fee there.
One of the land restrictions that came when the park was established is that there not be an visitor entrance fee. That still holds today, despite the 11 million annual reasons against it.
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Old 06-04-09, 04:57 PM   #16
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I concur GSMNP is one of my least favorite because it is ridiculously crowded. They should charge a fee there.
I haven't been through there in ages. I've had luck getting away from people in most any national park just taking a backwoods hiking trail. Only like 2 miles off the beaten path gets you away from 99% of the visitors in my experience.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:25 PM   #17
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They waived provincial park fees up here for the next two years as a way to get people going to provincial parks. At $25 for an annual vehicle pass ( you don't pay if you walk in and I don't think you pay if you bike in either.)

Hollow gesture, nothing more than political pandering. If ya can't afford $25 (or $5 for a 3 day pass), then you have other issues to deal with.

They should be dedicating park pass fees to park upgrades so that people would want to go to provincial parks.
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Old 06-04-09, 10:09 PM   #18
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I haven't been through there in ages. I've had luck getting away from people in most any national park just taking a backwoods hiking trail. Only like 2 miles off the beaten path gets you away from 99% of the visitors in my experience.
Very true, but reaching that point is a bit of an ordeal. The northern approach is massively developed until they ran out of level ground. It's kind of like driving from Kissimmee to Disney World - but with free parking, no entrance fee and no rides.
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Old 06-05-09, 07:35 AM   #19
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Well let me try to describe the park to you. It is about 30 miles long and about 1/2 mile wide. It has some nice spots to visit, including Brandywine Falls, A canal visitor center, and the Cuyahoga Valley Line (the train). There is the towpath trail which is an old canalway path.If you bring your bike you can ride the train for $2. Some people ride the train to one end of the park then bike back. What is nice is the Summit County Metroparks intertwine with the CVNP, which give you a little more to do.

So seeing you only a couple of hours away, I would make a trip to see it, you only really need about a day if you are just seeing the CVNP, but there are many other things to do in the area. It basically runs from downtown Cleveland to downtown Akron.

If you are into hiking there are plenty of place to hike, none too difficult.

Sweet, thanks for the info. The hiking is definitely a plus. Figured it would be a new place to see, and not as far out as Shenandoah.
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