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Canal user fee is a bad idea

January 16, 2015
Shepherdstown Chronicle

The reach of the federal government into the pockets of its citizenry continues to look beyond reasonable limits. The newest local proposal to require "user fees" of those who enjoy walking along the C&O canal is just one more example of unnecessary financial burdens being placed on the people.

The American taxpayer continues to pay increased rates for all taxes-taxes which fund the entire government including the National Park Service. Those funds, not additional "user fees" are what should be allocated for park upkeep.

Rather than nickel and diming the general population who finds pleasure in walking the canal path, the government officials should encourage more of the populace to get out there and walk it! We are a nation of obese individuals who find excuses not to get up and get moving. Now the NPS is giving one more excuse-one that hits us in the pocketbook.

While the proposed fees don't see that high at the outset, once they are in place, they will continue to rise. In fact, discussions are already projecting the first increase before the fees are even approved. We have seen the same happen at other national parks, including Jefferson's own Harpers Ferry National Park. The fee to park has increased since its inception and visitors on the weekend even find park rangers taking money at the train station down town which offers some of the only parking in the area. The fee proposed for the canal looks to already have an eye headed in that direction.

With all the entrance points onto the canal, will the NPS post rangers at each to collect user fees? Is this really a productive use of manpower? If there are rangers to patrol and collect fees, what other work is not being completed? If the fee is simply something that will be monitored in a parking area, why call it a user fee? Why have it per person rather than just per car (instead of both which is how the proposal comes across)? If one already has a "park pass" purchased for Harpers Ferry, is that sufficient for the canal or must one purchase another? The questions are many, the answers so far are few.

We encourage those who use the canal path and those who already pay for its upkeep through your tax dollars, to voice your opinions at the website included in the story in today's paper. Head out to the meetings that are scheduled and question what the funds will actually be used for. Encourage our NPS officials to welcome more people into the parks and along the canal rather than inhibiting that number by charging fees.

 
 
 

 

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