Should I pay to Park at a National Park?

It has always bothered me that people who visit parks complain about parking fees. Apparently they think that since they pay taxes, they should be allowed to use the park for free.  Check this article out. As I read it, the court decreed that you can park your car, enter a national park and enjoy its wonders, all for no charge. However if you use the toilet, picnic tables, or whatever, you are using an amenity and you can be charged.

Isn’t the parking lot an amenity. You get to park on asphalt not on dirt, you have some security, you may have lighting, you don’t get stuck when it rains. It would seem like an amenity to me.

But there is a larger picture. These parks cost a ton of money to maintain. Just ask the states that cut their budgets and then close the parks because they can no longer afford to maintain them. A small percentage of the populace use these parks, but everyone pays.

I think that some tax money is justified to maintain parks, but should all of the maintenance be charged off to the general tax base?  Shouldn’t the users pay some fee for the use of the park and its facilities?  In most parks I visit you pay an entry fee when you drive in. That seems fair. So why do laws mandate free entry and parking?  What is with that?

Anyone know?


H/T Charlie

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