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Proposed Fees: Decline in parkgoers will rattle the Morongo Basin economy, stall the housing boom and limit parkgoers to the wealthy

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Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree – National Geographic editors tell us the national parks have been woven into the fabric of American life for so many generations that it’s hard to imagine the nation without them.

The first Director of the National Park Service was Stephen Mather. He began with a mandate “to promote their use by all people[Emphasis added].

When the numbers of park goers decline to the 2000 level of about a million visitors from its present level of nearly 3 million, this is going to be a troublesome sting on the economy of the Morongo Valley and the Morongo Basin.

The agency proposes a $70 fee for each private, non commercial vehicle, up from the current fares of $25 to $30. The fee for a motorcycle would more than double to $50 from $15 to $25. Visitors on foot or bicycle would pay $30, up from the $10 to $15. These figures do not include overnight, weekend and holiday camping.

Interestingly, the Sacramento Bee yesterday wrote, California is moving to block national park fee increases (see below) because they are unfair, exorbitant and disfavor Californians families and protected classes of Americans.

Updated U.S. Census and state and federal sources tell us what we that live here already know: We are a group of severely disadvantaged communities.

The editor of the Johnson Valley News, Betty Munson, reports many communities feel they have reached the status of victimhood. Betty wrote:

GLASS HALF EMPTY?
• With all the County and State legislation and regulations and requirements and truly inexplicable taxations, some desert dwellers in our small “severely disadvantaged “ communities feel they have reached the status of victimhood.

A kaleidoscope of new taxes from Yucca Valley, 29 Palms assessments – plus a $33.5 million bond property debt tax, the HDWD, TPWD fees, assessments, California gas/lic. fees taxes, local increases in tourism lodging taxes, property taxes, county fire taxes, et cetera, is definitely an assault upon families, veterans, seniors, and Americans with Disabilities that live here.

Now the NPS wants to constructively price our severely depressed communities out of entering and camping in JTNP.

The exorbitant fees proposed by the NPS have never been seen before, not since the founding of the park service on August 25, 1916.

Many of our own local children and almost every one effected by economic hardships will not afford to experience the greatness of our own national parks.

The snowballing housing market in Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, and the unincorporated areas will foreseeable slacken. That means all our homes and real property will eventually decrease from recent precipitous gains in value. This will foreseeable end the flourish housing boom in our area.

The LAtimes reports that our California attorney general bashes idea to raise entry fees for JTNP other national parks.

California AG, Xavier Becerra, denounces these proposed heavy-handed park fees.

He is joined by 10 other attorneys general, said in a letter that the proposed increases “threaten to distance (Americans) from the places in which so many experience the natural wonder of our great and unique nation. … We cannot let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy.

Becerra and fellow attorneys say facility and infrastructure improvements should not come at the expense of parkgoers.

The National Park Service is foisting a cruel, callous, and heavy-handed deception on millions of Americans families, children of America and all people who are trying to financially make end meet.

Is the wave of the future to push the have-nots out of the park because the NPS lacks the ability to lobby/demand from congress more funding?

Agency officials have extended the public comment period on the fee raise until Dec. 22. More than 65,000 comments have already been received. Link here to write a comment.

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News & Opinion by Branson Hunter

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Default Comments (15)

15 Responses to Proposed Fees: Decline in parkgoers will rattle the Morongo Basin economy, stall the housing boom and limit parkgoers to the wealthy

  1. larry briggs
    larry briggs November 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Branson says the facility and infrastructure improvements should not come at the expense of the parkgoers. Who should pay for them?

    Reply
    • Branson Hunter
      Branson Hunter November 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Larry Babbitt,
      Are you aware that George F. Babbitt was also a realtor? Over the years of perusing through your comments, it appears there are character and behavior pattern similarities between you and “Babbitt”. I believe it’s called “Babbitry” (n.). The controversy novel provoked by Babbitt was influential in the decision to award the Nobel Prize in literature to Sinclair Lewis in 1930. The word “Babbitt” entered the English language as a “person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards.

      BTW, in your two last faux pas responses, you misread the story and misquoted the California Attorney General, giving attribute to me — and then flaming me for the AG’s news conference text. When you do a moot tongue-lashing, for heaven’s sake get it right.

      Even though you are a realtor you have nothing to say. And never anything to bring to readers or the public. Might you have something intelligent to say contrariwise to the AG’s belief that price gouging is unacceptable and this is an assult on California’s children.

      Is Larry BABBITT afraid to pull the mask off his face?

      Reply
  2. Dan OBrien November 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

    A number of months ago I wrote an article on seniors getting their “Forever”Card for Parks…. It was cheap. Most did nothing to cover that offer.

    This is what happens when you grab up every stitch of Open Land in the west and make parks and monuments of it with out consideration of how to fund the administration of those lands.

    They were better left to open use. Better to have free access than have to pay for a docent and ranger for nothing.

    You want to take back America? Reopen the Millions of acres of land closed off to public use.

    Quit having established Parks suffer in supporting closed lands that have little potential paying for themselves.

    That budget dollar stretches only so far… the rest of the money has to come from someplace.

    Reply
  3. larry briggs
    larry briggs November 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Where is the “somewhere”?

    Reply
  4. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter November 25, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Well, Larry, the children of America come first. Do you understand that? Less guns and more butter. Our entire infrastructure has gone to hell: bridges, freeways, roads and highways, energy infrastructure, water delevery systems, etc.

    Who is going to pay for that? Kids come first. They are the future.

    Do you want to effectively prices America’s youth out of national parks?

    Reply
  5. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter November 25, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    I spent the afternoon in the Park with out-of-town friends, both of which are tenured teachers in the Montebello school district. They are in disbelief that the park agency is willing to price children out of the park, while not aggressively exploring other money revenues.

    The road through the park was parked with cars, and walkers, bicyclists, hikers and, of course, and massive numbers of big rig traveling vacation homes. Haven’t seen anything like this. Key’s View was so packed with cars they were backed-up about a mile before the Keys viewing areas.

    I took note of the many people in the park today. Wondering how many individuals and families would go elsewhere for weekends because of gouging fees. I’m guessing half would not have entered the park because of a $70 entry fees, not to mention overnight or weekend camping fees.

    The NPS is taking the easy way out. Pricing millions of people and America’s children out of the park experiences is the easy way out. We all pay for those parks so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the great outdoors.

    We all pay taxes on everything to fund congress to keep our country running? Such is a better funding source.

    Proposed fees are a big swindle.

    Reply
  6. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter November 25, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Please get it straight Larry: ‘Branson’ did not say JTNP “facility and infrastructure improvements should not come at the expense of the parkgoers.”

    I was quoting the California Attorney General from the LA times and the Sacto Bee. Please read more carefully. Write what you want but like Jim Harris says, “Get it right”.

    No comment, Larry, regarding the decline in parkgoers will foreseeable rattle the Morongo Basin economy, stall the housing boom and limit parkgoers to the wealthy?

    Seem since you are a realtor in 29 why wouldn’t you have something important to say? Do you have opinions and views and ideas on local real estate matters?

    Reply
  7. larry briggs
    larry briggs November 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    3 posts to spout your usual garbage about local,,state and federal government with the exception of the county. You live in the county so it’s natural for you to kiss the king’s ring..

    Reply
  8. larry briggs
    larry briggs November 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    The state’s attorney general. Isn’t he part of the cabal that’s giving us taxpayers the Train to Nowhere’?.Talk about shortchanging then kids.

    Reply
    • Branson Hunter
      Branson Hunter November 26, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Once again (Larry), the “cabal” you say is not California’s highest enforcement ranks of professionals, it is right here in TWENTYNINE PALMS: Danny Mintz, John Cole and Joey Klink. That is the honest-in-fact cabal who STUCK PROPERTY HOLDERS WITH A WHOPPING BOND DEBT OF ALL TOLD $33,500,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’S A REAL CABAL. The only way to get rid of the cabal is by way of neighborhood-areas voting districts. The clique is threatened. That includes Larry Babbitt.

      Reply
  9. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter November 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Larry, the entire story went over your head.
    It is not about me pal.
    I’m just one retired smuck with a active keyboard.
    Why do you feel threatened?
    Have you any brain synapses to chime in on a decline in parkgoers will rattle the Morongo Basin economy, stall the housing boom and limit parkgoers to the wealthy.
    You are just wasting your time in here Babbitt.

    Reply
  10. larry briggs
    larry briggs November 27, 2017 at 8:55 am

    O great guru, how should the repairs in the JTNP be funded?

    Reply
  11. Branson Hunter
    Branson Hunter November 27, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Steve Spear November 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    To our many readers.

    Larry Briggs is a total failure as an appointed representative of the people.

    He will not answer questions and when asked to produce facts he belittles those that ask the questions and provides one line answers similar to the Three Stooges of which he represents – Klink, Cole, and Mintz.

    As a former Marine Larry is a disgrace to the term Marine.

    He has no honor as I see it.

    He is a lap dog which is an anathema to the term Marine.

    Reply
  12. larry briggs
    larry briggs November 27, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Benji, are you not capable of telling your adoring followers how you would fund the Park repairs?

    Reply
    • Branson Hunter
      Branson Hunter November 27, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Ask and answered you old fool. Your mind is foggy or something more serious is going on.

      Reply

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