Entrance Fees at National Parks

Link: So What If Park Fees Go Up?Should entrance fees at national parks be raised?The National Park Service is the steward of 84 million acres of America’s most famous natural spaces, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Everglades. In 2008, the Park Service proposed higher fees at some parks. Writer John Krist argued in favor of the price increases:A day at Disneyland costs a family of four at least $232, not counting Mickey Mouse ears. At Six Flags Magic Mountain, the admission price would be at least $180. A seven-day pass to enter Yellowstone National Park costs $25 per car, which means that the same family spending a week among bison, elk, geysers and grizzlies would pay the equivalent of 89 cents per person, per day.Which is why it’s perplexing to see such an outcry over news that the Park Service wants to raise entrance fees at 135 sites over the next two years…. Their principal arguments are economic: Tourism-dependent communities fret that higher fees will reduce visitation and cut into profits, while others argue that the increases will keep out those of limited financial means. It’s true, in theory at least, that raising the price of something should decrease demand for it.On the other hand, it’s absurd to expect a finite amount of parkland to accommodate a continually increasing number of people. Anyone who has driven into Yosemite Valley on a holiday weekend is unlikely to regard a drop in park visitation as entirely a bad thing. Slightly higher user fees are unlikely to have much effect on park use, but they could have a significant effect on the quality of the park experience. Most of that money will stay at individual parks, where it can be spent on upkeep and repairs—the sort of unglamorous expenditures that typically get shortchanged in the politically driven federal budget process. Smaller crowds and plumbing that works—what’s not to like?Do you agree with Krist’s argument that the demand for national park visits is inelastic at current price levels, so that higher fees are “unlikely to have much effect on park use”? Think about the factors that affect price elasticity, such as the availability and price of substitutes. Explain your answer.How would you weigh the following trade-offs?Should the Park Service intentionally try to shrink the demand for visits in order to reduce crowding? Explain your answer. Should the Park service intentionally try to shrink the demand for visits in order to protect parks from environmental damage? Explain your answer.Does the Park Service have a responsibility to keep national parks accessible to families who cannot afford to pay higher fees? Explain your answer.Should the Park Service be concerned about the economic impact of a reduced demand for visits on surrounding communities? Explain your answer.Submission Method: Type your response in a Word Document using 12 point font with standard margins. In separate paragraphs answer questions #1 & 2 in narrative form. You can read more about narrative essays here. For questions a, b, & c create sub paragraphs under the second paragraph to reflect your answer to each question. 2 pages in length with double-spacing.

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