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State Park Entrance Fees Increase
Submitted By: John McNamee on Jun 22, 2007

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Starting Sept. 1, the high-season daily vehicle pass fee goes from $6 to $7 to get in Eldorado Canyon State Park. That fee will be in effect for all of September, then revert to $6 for the winter before rising again on May 1.

All other state parks will increase their daily fee from $5 to $6.

The charge for an annual pass will rise from $55 to $60, starting Nov. 15. And, while annual passes currently are purchased for a calendar year, the passes will now become effective for a year from the date of purchase. The fee to put an annual pass on a second vehicle will rise from $20 to $25.

In a news release, the Parks Board said the fee increases were made necessary by a $750,000 reduction in the amount parks get from Colorado's general tax fund, and concern about the prospect of future reductions in tax support.

The last time the daily vehicle pass fee was increased was 2002. The annual pass fee was last increased in 2004.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 9, 2007
By Pete Laurina
From: Littleton, CO
Jun 23, 2007
For the amount of use I get out of the state parks, I have no problem with the little increase. I'm personally more disgusted that you constantly hear about state governments and the federal government decreasing their financial support of all the parks. Anyone know when the last time they got a $750,000 increase in their budget was? I may not be the best one to comment on government budgets, perhaps someone with more knowledge could comment, but it seems like taxes constantly increase and support for community puplic parks decrease. Maybe we need someone from Boulder to be in office in this state, I'd love to see the governe]or driving around in a VW Bus.
By Joshua Balke
From: Colorado Springs
Jun 24, 2007
Josh- perhaps the easiest answer to your complaint is that there are multiple funds that can only be used for certain things. Some funds can only be used for park facilities, some to pay employees and so on. Look up GOCO (Great outdoors colorado) and see how they limit the money that is given to parks.
Pete- All I can say is that there is a big push for colorado state parks dept. to be self funding. If you look at the DOW I beleive they are completely self funding from all of the fishing/hunting licences.
By Mike Pharris
From: Longmont, CO
Jun 26, 2007
If you compare that price for an ANNUAL pass to the cost of a SINGLE DAY admission to one theme park/amusement park or virtually anything else and it suddenly looks pretty cheap. There was an article in the Rocky Mtn Press a week or two ago about this - that writer was referring to the National Park fees but the same point is valid here. I'll pay the fee and I'll get my moneys worth too :) However, it would be nice to be able to buy a lower cost pass for individual parks or maybe parks in a given region. I'll probably not visit the parks in the far southwest of the state, but I'll go to Lory and Eldo several times.
By Chris M
From: Gunnison, CO
Jun 28, 2007
The price increase is total bull. They nickel and dime us to death. It's our land why do we need to pay a tax to use it? I understand a small fee if you want to camp or do something that impacts the land, but to pay a tax just to get outside and breath some fresh air is wrong. And for the people saying they have no problem paying because it's not that much compared to other activities you guys forget that it's the PEOPLE'S land. I'm not a lawyer, but if you were to walk into a state park without paying the fee, are you trespassing? All the extra money means more building and sooner than later another fee increase so they can maintain what they just built.
By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jul 3, 2007
If you were to walk into a state park without paying the fee, are you trespassing?

While not trespassing, failure pay posted fees is certainly a citable offense authorized by statute/laws/ordinances and punishable by both fines and in certain cases, time in jail. The authority to enforce these ordinances is given to the Park Rangers or similar by the agency's director, superintendent, etc. The offense itself can be titled as something as innocuous as "nonobservance of signs" to "defrauding an innkeeper" to a host of other section titles in between.
By Umph!
Jul 9, 2007
Reallocation of funds (i.e., maint. rather than copper sinks) sounds reasonable.
I'm no proponent of big brother, but sometimes, some places, need special management plans. If Eldo wasn't a state park it would be private or an entire mess with constant sheriff patrols needed.

Chris M:
No you aren't trespassing, you are failing to pay the posted entrance fee (title 33 law). If you don't like the price, walk in or bike (hell, you could "save the planet", some money and us from your snivels).
Just to get ya thinkin reasonably, consider the following:
Imagine if the Giant Sequoias or Redwoods weren't managed.
Imagine if Zion wasn't managed. RMNP? How about, say, wilderness areas? If you take a minute to think about people, then your "why do we need" questions will be answered.
When you have many people using an area it IMPACTS the land. And, when you have an area that stands out, then people will flock to it. Your idea of land use won't be the same as someone else's: you may take pictures while someone else takes resources and yet another takes their 4x4 and another their semi-auto or spray paint or old recliner/refrigerator/trash.
Sometimes, taxes and fees are needed.
By Randy Carmichael
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 9, 2007
Cameron. I agree that special areas do need "management", but I struggle with the idea that management includes building a visitor center. If the Eldorado visitor center is necessary, I would rather have it located outside of the canyon itself. Also, I think they still charge you even if you walk in.
By Umph!
Jul 9, 2007
Heya Randy -
It's true that they still charge for walk-in, but it's cheaper ($3?), which is why I said you could save some money.
I fully agree with the visitor center funding (way too much), but we have to understand that some park visitors LOVE this kinda stuff - the parks are moving toward accommodating the upper class and the elder of our society (which is why the center is so elaborate and in the detached setting at the rear of the park). They are trying to cater to all visitors. . . you know, offer something for everyone.

I struggle with all of this too. Our big problems are heavy traffic, large activity diversity within the populace, and cultural differences.
When I go to certain nat. forest sites I wish I could pay a few extra dollars to increase bc ranger patrols. . . some areas are absolutely destroyed.
By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jul 10, 2007
Sorden, it's visitors such as yourself who come to a park on a major holiday, expecting to see some sort of tranquility that frustrate those of us who manage parks. If you had the experience in parks to be in charge, you'd know that staff just wants to get through one of these days without any major incidents.

And, I know I don't have to tell you that parks are for all walks of life right (ref: "most of them weren't climbers)?

Finally, while I can't speak on behalf of a specific ranger or facility's staff, I can tell you incontrovertibly, that if you worked a day in a ranger's life, you'd realize that by no means are they "lazy rangers," and you'd respectfully retract such a benighted statement.

So anyway, you said you wanted to "vent" and thats cool and all, but just try and take into consideration a slightly bigger picture when doing so.

Cameron, good illustration with this statement: "Just to get ya thinkin reasonably, consider the following:
Imagine if the Giant Sequoias or Redwoods weren't managed"
By Buff Johnson
Jul 11, 2007
I don't see what the problem is here with the fee.

I'm glad we get the adjusted annual now. I think that's a better benefit than the cost increase.

Rangers not working to manage the natural resource?? huh??
Rangers in Eldo & the Wood & 11-Mile Res hassling climbers for being climbers?? triple huh??

Then, getting pissed because you didn't take the time to get your dmv tag updated??? (yea, I've gotten popped too; but I screwed up, I blame myself)


So, what exactly is the problem with the fee increase in our state parks? I think we have it really good here.
By Chris M
From: Gunnison, CO
Jul 11, 2007
I have no problem with the state managing the parks. I guess they need funding and I do grumble everytime I buy a pass. But I just don't think I'll ever get over the concept of a walk in fee. Every couple of weeks I give the state of Colorado around $30 from my paycheck in taxes. And all I want in return is to be able to walk into a state park on my own two feet and not have to pay a fee.
By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jul 11, 2007
"Rangers enforce laws, they don't manage wilderness. Regulatory legislation manages wilderness."

Again, I reference a day in the life...please read a job description

"But do you pick up all the trash left by non-climbers?"

Yep, that's part of the job.

"Do you issue any tickets for littering?"

Yep, in a worse case basis, but not as a means to generate revenue.

"Don't twist my words because you were offended"

Wasn't trying to. Reread my post. I was just conveying my opinion...
By Umph!
Jul 12, 2007
ATS, Bob D, Mark N. . . right on.

In my past I most definitely wrote littering tickets.

Park Rangers are statewide officers who uphold traffic laws thru to wildlife laws. . . there jobs can be very hectic and certainly all-encompassing. MOST laws are needed and of definite value (imo). Leash laws for example may seem ridiculous to the pet-owner, but certainly not to the wildlife or the visitor who happens to be afraid of dogs, or simply annoyed by them.
Society is complex, and congregations in a relatively small area are just that (complex).
It's simply impossible to make everyone happy and grateful and able to understand some of the policies (even though they are quite cut-n-dry and easy to understand).

Eldo management is doing a good job. I know some of those folks and they're REALLY good people. They care, and they do the best with what they have. Also understand that though they manage the park, they don't necessarily set the policies/precedent.

Bob - I envy your .25 days!!
By Eldorado Canyon
Jul 12, 2007
Just some answers to some of the comments posted:

  • The Visitor Center/Ranger Station was built with GOCO dollars and not tax dollars (most construction projects work this way); also, it is the staff's office as well and compared to what staff was working out of previously to 2002, I hope you won't begrudge the building of this much nicer facility!
  • For fiscal year 07-08, the state legislature approved a $750,000 reduction in the state’s general fund support for parks.
  • Colorado receives the 10th lowest amount of General Fund support of all 50 states.
  • In FY 2006-07, General Fund represented 19.2% of State Parks’ appropriated operating budget. This percentage was down from 26.1 percent in 1995-96. As recently as FY 2000-01, General Funds contributed 25.7% to the Division’s total operating budget. Since that time, the General Fund contribution to State Parks’ operating budget has declined due to the State’s budget situation.
  • 4th of July - typically is the busiest day of the year for us and a volunteer and I spent all day literally walking the picnic grounds and trails handing out trash bags and picking up litter, as well as cleaning the Visitor Center bathrooms. Staff does the best job possible with traffic control (meaning being yelled at constantly), stopping volleyball/soccer games, making sure people are not cutting branches off the trees for their grills, building ground fires, the list goes on, I assure you! The parking in the picnic area was full by 8:30am before we were fully staffed so by that time you're just trying to keep the road clear in case of emergency or for the residents who live behind the park - making sure every inch of space is full is the least of our problems at that point!
  • With the littering ticket, while I am not a law enforcement ranger, I can tell you I would LOVE if we could get on top of this, considering how much staff/volunteer time is taken picking up trash after a busy day. Unfortunately, you have to see the person physically throw something on the ground - it's not enough to just see a cup under the table. Our education and interpretive staff try to tackle this issue by educating visitors (using puppets, modeling proper behavior since oftentimes there's a language barrier, etc.) since citations/enforcement of this issue is so difficult.
  • About the multiple/second vehicle pass...you need to bring the original annual pass receipt and the registration of the second vehicle that shows the cars are registered to the same household in order to get the reduced rate(>:
  • And finally...we do have a volunteer program so if at any time you would like to see how things operate on our end, please sign up! After 48 hours you earn a park pass that is a hang tag, so is good in any vehicle as long as you're in it, and is good a year from the time you earn it.
By Joshua Balke
From: Colorado Springs
Jul 12, 2007
ecsp, thanks for saying so well what I couldn't in my post. While the state parks are not perfect staff and volunteers bust their asses to make their park the best they can. Rangers are usually so undermanned that they spend most of their time taking care of drunks, illegal fires, fights and god knows what else may come up in a day. Its really the volunteers who have to deal with a lot of the piddly crap like littering. Anyone who disagrees go ahead and volunteer. It's really easy and the amount of time you dedicate is up to you. You'll learn really fast how hard the parks try. And if you want to complain about the finances go ahead and educate yourself about where the funds come from first and how they are dispersed. I was just as ignorant as others until I became involved and realized how complex and political the system is. To sum it up be a part of the solution not the problem if you have gripes.
By Magic Fingers
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 13, 2007
stop bitching, go climbing, be happy, say hi to people. And lets face it, if you live in BOULDER, CO, you can afford $7.00 to go climbing. Don't like it, go hang out on forest service land with the rednecks and their shotguns.

There's an ass ton of nasty, belligerent replies to this thread. There's another thread several threads below this one that highlights the possibility of the NPS raising Denali fees from $200.00 to $1000.00. Do you know how many nasty, belligerent replies there are to that thread?

0

Most people carry $1000.00 around on their rack. You can afford an extra dollar.
By jayci
From: Flagstaff
Aug 9, 2007
I live in Eldorado Springs. Everyday during the summer I see a ridiculous amount of people enter the park. It would be possible to say that Eldorado Canyon is the most popular state run park in the country. I have a hard time believing that they don't accrue enough mony to maintain and then some! Most of these summertime visitors are paying the six dollars to get in to grill a hotdog or two. I do think that there is price gouging going on. The employees of the park are usually paid eight dollers an hour and would not be able to live without their summer housing that the park supplies. But without the park, you would have punk kids trundling rocks on your head while you climb. You could also end up running from some landowner wealding a shotgun. There would be broken bottles and trash everywhere! We need the park service to enforce rules so this doesn't happen. It would be great to live in a place where there is no fee or regulation like the western slope, but we live in the front range so swallow your pride and pay the extra five bucks to keep the park what it is.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Aug 9, 2007
If Eldo was run as an enterprise division, it would not need a fee increase to make a profit and give all the stuff people want. Unfortunately, that is not how the budget works.

There was a time, BTW, where Devil's Lake was the most visited state park in the country. Probably still true- nowhere else for those poor folks to go!