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Opposes park user fees

June 29, 2012
Messenger News

To the editor:

In the June 24 Messenger, the Viewpoints question was, "How do you feel about a state park user fee?" Is there serious talk going around about re-instating this fee? This fee was tried for a few years in the 1980s. It wasn't effective for raising money then and that was in a good economy. Shouldn't we learn from the past and not make the same mistakes?

A park user fee is an idea for raising money, but in this economy and with cutbacks, who would enforce such fees? Existing park rangers are few and far between and already have a significant work load. Our county deputies' time needs to be used enforcing more important laws.

If raising funds for state parks is the goal, in my opinion, Brody O'Tool had a good idea with fundraisers. If a state park had a specific project that needed to be done, why not hold fundraisers and/or partner with a community service organization to accomplish the goal.

I just wouldn't like to see the state go to the expense of making car stickers and signs to be posted in parks about a fee that isn't realistically enforceable and will be rescinded in a few seasons anyway. Granted, a percentage of law abiding people will comply with this fee, but wouldn't it be more cost-effective and productive to make sure people could make a tax-deductible donation to a park?

Diane Happel

Fort Dodge



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