Oct 272017

Recently there’s been news of efforts to raise admissions prices to some of the more popular National Parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite, due to increasing costs. Often left unsaid is that these parks tend to be *packed* with visitors. The sheer numbers are enough to ruin the experience; then factor in the physical damage that is done and it’s easy to see that it would be a good idea to cut down on the number of visitors. So, how to go about that? The current suggestion of simply raising the admissions prices to, say $70 per vehicle would help raise funds, but I have doubts about whether that’s enough to cut the number of visitors… $70 is a tiny fraction of the cost involved for most vacationers.

There is also the fact that National Parks are supposed to be available to all the people. Jacking up the cost has already been portrayed as an Evil Scheme to punish poor people. So, what alternatives do we have?

1: Jack the per-vehicle prices *way* up, say, $500 per car. But also institute an annual lottery available to all US citizens. A certain number of people are randomly selected to receive a free entry pass. They can sell it if they like.

2: Keep the current entry price the same for US citizens, but raise it through the roof for foreigners. This would necessitate that everyone’s IDs would be checked, adding a level of TSA-madness to the entry process. A car load of US citizens would pay $40 or whatever to gain entry; but if they have, say, one of their British buddies with them, the buddy has to pay an additional, oh, $200 to gain entry. A busload of Japanese tourists would raise a substantial mount of scratch to help offset the damage they might do by chasing the wildlife all over.

3: Stop allowing cars and buses in *at* *all.* Run a thorough shuttle bus service… at a substantial ticket price.

Any other ideas?

 Posted by at 1:09 am
  • markus baur

    south african national parks – either you buy a day ticket and are out of the park again by nightfall … or you get a place in one of the rest camps (where places are limited in number, so book early)

    this gives you something of a limit on the number of visitors

  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    Exclude visitors altogether. Build IMAX theaters all around the parks connected to drone feeds, and fly the drones around the natural wonders.

    Ticket prices to the theaters and concession stands pays for drone operators, upkeep and park maintenance.

  • sferrin

    If you raised the prices the left would accuse you of “white privilege” and demand a new tax to subsidize illegals’ vacations.

  • becida

    I thought all this was a way to get the attention of the politicians so they would start getting the national parks back to where they belong.
    Silly me, when it said “double the price” I really should have seen the politicians smiling!

    Raise the price & running it thru a 3rd party reservation service will cut the riff-raff, make a better experience for those with the disposable income & make money for all the 3rd parties involved!

  • Bert

    How about not hiring crony oilmen and subsidizing their jet-setting lifestyle? I bet you can afford a _lot_ of trail maintenance for what it costs to fly Ryan Zinke on a private jet charter to another privatize public lands bribery junket.

    The thing about national parks is that they are empty 50 yards off the roads. You can seriously walk 20 minutes away from a parking lot at Mammoth and not see another human being for weeks. So, all the people crying about how they are “too crowded” are the ones complaining about walking from the car to the air conditioned lodge.

    I like the idea of restricting private vehicles. Park and get on a shuttle or walk, but you don’t get to block traffic for hours to pester baby bears or go muddin’ on public land.

    • Scottlowther

      Imagine how much trail maintenance could be accomplished by fining the Clinton Foundation all the money they got from Putin…

    • Scottlowther

      > all the people crying about how they are “too crowded” are the ones complaining about walking from the car

      Or the ones accurately crying about the fact that there is nowhere to park in the first place.

    • se jones

      The thing about national parks is that they are empty 50 yards off the roads

      of all the comments here, this one hits the nail on the head.
      Modern Americans are (in general) lazy, stupid and thoroughly indoctrinated in sanctimonious eco-religion.

      Joshua and Brittany work hard at the code factory for months, then they journy to Southern Utah for a little R&R. After driving 700 miles, they expect to step out of the Subaru and experience blissful silence and solitude. But suddenly they are shocked, shocked and horrified when me and my pals go racing by on our 300KTM dirtbikes.

      Joshua and Brittany will send a check to the Sierra Club, SUWA and WWF just as soon as they get home from the nightmare.

      Of course if Joshua and Brittany had walked 1/4 mile from the Subaru, over the ridge and down into the gully beyond…they would have had 100% total solitude, piece and quiet. In fact, they could hike for 120 miles in that gully and never have encountered a dirt bike, jeep, ATV or probably another human being.

      The big enviro groups know this human nature perfectly well, they take advantage of people’s ignorance to raise $billions for their quasi-religious Wilderness area campaigns.

      And in the end who wins? The wealthy 1% who’s Montana getaway’s property value goes up 800% when the back yard butts up to a Wilderness area.

      This Land Is No Longer Your Land
      The fight over preserving public land during the Trump era is taking a strange, angry twist in Montana’s Crazy Mountains. Both sides are armed


      Take it or Leave it: The New West’s Big Lie…by Jim Stiles
      just WHO exactly prospers in the New West?

  • allen

    isn’t “3” what they do up in Denali in alaska? so, it wouldn’t be unprecedented.

  • Jeffersonian

    Privatize. Take the whole thing away from greenshirt bureaucrats, let a dozen or more different companies run the places for profit, competing with each other for customers instead of having a government monopoly. If they don’t maintain the resources, no one will want to go there and they go out of business. Some other outfit buys what’s left, restores it (probably by just leaving it the heck alone for a few years), and tries a different way.

  • KellyFromMesquite

    Here’s something the lefties would get behind, make the “tourists” run an obstacle course and if they get in, they can stay. But first charge a hefty fee that’s non-refundable.

    • B-Sabre

      No, they call that “fat shaming” now.

  • dracphelan

    I spent the summer of 1990 working Yellowstone. Of the suggestions you presented, I think the shuttle service is the most workable. When I was there, there was a bus service run by a contacting company that worked fairly well. But, there would still be issues. I’m thinking this could be combined with the $70/vehicle fee and just limiting the number of people allowed in the park at any one time. Think about it. There are plenty of venues that limit the number of people allowed in based on capacity. If people want a higher capacity, they will need to pressure congress to put more money toward the parks, or pony up out of their own pockets (the preferable solution).
    BTW, if I remember correctly, Zion NP is going over to the bus only option during the busiest times of the year.

  • Michel Van

    Install a large Geothermal power plant in Yellowstone and Yosemite
    use money for installation and park maintenance
    and let visitors in for free

  • Paul451

    If there’s too many people and not enough money, determine the optimum number of people for each park and auction off the day-passes online.

    Perhaps auction them in batches 30 days in advance, 7 days, and same-day. It should be possible to optimise the size of the batches to optimise revenue and demand. (People need to be able to plan ahead, eliminate that and you bork demand. But last minute buys should be possible, eliminate that and you bork demand.)

    (Aside: I don’t understand how we still have concert ticket scalping. Auction off the tickets via an algo that aims for 90-95% capacity. The tickets find their natural price. What’s left for scalpers to profit on? Likewise, there’s no reason for concerts to be cancelled because they didn’t sell enough tickets, if the algo can alter the venue between several choices to optimise the return. (Larger venue means lower per-ticket, but more tickets, but higher costs. Smaller venue means fewer tickets, but higher prices, but lower costs. Somewhere there will be an optimum based on demand.))

  • se jones

    To have a nation with enormous numbers of unemployed “inner city youth”, while at the same time having these huge maintenance backlogs at the national parks is -insane. Especially insane when you realize that most of the trails, infrastructure & facilities at the national parks was originally built by WPA workers in the first place. Clinton’s AmeriCorps was the right idea as far as it went.

    But, I’ve watched this play out over the decades and I have little hope for sanity to return. The government agencies and their civil service managers will always just lobby for more money to preserve their jobs and expand their fiefdom, bringing in WPA type workers is a threat. Closely related are the industry lobbyists who will fight for more (borrowed) federal dollars for their contractors to do the work.

    Last but not least, is the SJW contingent, who will throw a wrench into any plan to take idle kids off the street, house them in tents, take away their drugs & I phones, while they do a hard days work on some rock wall in Rocky Mountain National Park under the hot summer sun. Can’t have THAT.