4

Everglades National Park Mulls Admission Hike

Welcome to the Everglades, now pay up!

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Everglades National Park is coming off its quietest year, in terms of visitation, for a decade. Only 954,022 people came through the gates in 2006, a drop off of almost 280,000 -- or 23 percent -- from 2005 when 1.2 million visited. What to do?

Make it harder for people to visit — that's what to do, according to the questionable wisdom of the National Park Service.

In order to pump up funding for the ailing park (recent hurricanes have decimated infrastructure; water quality problems abound), the park service is proposing to:

� raise the entrance fee from $5.00 per person to $10.00 per person;

� raise the entrance fee from $10.00 per vehicle to $20.00 per vehicle, and

� raise the annual pass cost from $25.00 per year to $40.00 per year

Similar increases are in the offing for Dry Tortugas National Park.

Certainly, Everglades — and all other national parks — could use more cash. However, while federal parks spending has been relatively anemic the last few years, the Bush Administration has requested an additional $258 million in operational funding for 2008 and challenges philanthropists to increase their investments in the national parks by offering an innovative $100-million match program.

"They're looking to have these places pay for themselves in terms of maintenance," said Frank Denninger, an outspoken public access advocate. "It's a really tough call."

It's true the entrance fee at the main entrance station hasn't increased in ten years. That's an amazingly good deal in the business world, but we're talking wilderness here. Surely we needn't charge nature-starved city-dwellers $20 per car to commune with the River of Grass.

Perhaps the daily fee could remain the same, but only be valid for 24 hours, as opposed to the current seven-day period. Got ideas? Gripes? The National Park Service is requesting comments on the proposed entrance fee increases.

You can voice your opinion live at one of two public meetings: April 10 at South Dade Regional Library 5:30 — 6:15 p.m. and 7:00 - 8:15 p.m. or April 12 at Ernest Coe Visitor Center 5:30 — 6:15 p.m. and 7:00 - 8:15 p.m.

Or send an email, or send snail mail:

Proposed Fee Increase

Superintendent,

Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks

40001 State Road 9336

Homestead, FL 33034-6733

The deadline for public comment is April 23. For more information, call 305-242-7730.--Rob Jordan

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.