I first instituted the National Parks Fee Demonstration Program back in 1997, which had widespread support, and even in my bill I cautioned against expanding the program to other federal lands, mainly because of what we’re seeing now – a fee that doesn’t put money back into the site being impacted. Parks are a completely different animal than other federal lands.

I had opposed the recreation fee being expanded beyond the national parks and now my worst fears are being realized – higher fees with no guarantee that the money is going back to the site being impacted.

An $80 fee is certainly higher than what folks should have to pay to recreate on federal lands. My concerns about the price of the pass are echoed in a study conducted by the University of Wyoming, which showed very little tolerance for a pass priced above $70.

If there’s a budget problem in our land management agencies, let’s get to the root of it – address it head on – and not put budget shortfalls on the backs of recreational visitors.