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Is it getting too expensive to play outdoors?

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on May 4, 2011 at 9:50 am with 1 Comment »
May 4, 2011 1:14 pm

In today’s paper, I wrote a story about the new Discover Pass the state is creating. The pass – $10 per day or $30 a year – would provide the holder access to all the state parks, plus recreation lands and facilities managed by the state departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources.

Here is the link to the story.

There are some interesting comments at the end of the story, including one from a person who said they won’t be buying a pass.

Also this morning I got a call from a reader calling to confirm that the shrimp season will last just one day in Marine Area 11, the waters off Tacoma. When I said yes, the season will be open Saturday only, he said he would forgo buying some shrimp pots and a license. “It’s not worth it,” the reader said.

Which got me thinking, is it getting too expensive for many people to enjoy the outdoors? With gas headed for $5 a gallon, new and existing entrance fees, increases for many state fishing and hunting licenses, are people being priced out from hiking, wildlife watching, fishing, hunting, camping and so forth?

What are your thoughts?

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. Ashford98304 says:

    It is getting too expensive and too complicated for us to enjoy the outdoors like we once could. Fees have gone up but wages haven’t; other forms of recreation have increased as well, as has the cost of fuel. I often hear the pro-fee argument about how the average movie goer pays $XX to go to the movies and they should be pleased to pay $XX for a full day in a park.

    But it is much more complex than that. Fees: hunting licenses (multiple ones, including federal duck stamp), fishing licenses (multiple ones), fees for National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, State Parks, Snow parks; fees for licenses on vehicles (for parks), on guns (cc), taxes on sporting goods (federal), climbing fees, camping fees, picnicking fees (I even had to pay $5 for 5 gallons of water at one forest). So it takes lots of planning to determine what licenses and fees you need to pay and when to pay them (annual, one-time access) and where you can go to do what and will there actually be opportunities when you get there (will a park be open or only open late, will a road be closed due to snow and no snow plow, etc.). And the rules governing recreation are complex. Look at the hunting and fishing regulations–it is really daunting to understand them.

    Perhaps this is all unavoidable because our population is growing so fast, stress is being put on our recreational lands, management agency budgets are declining, and no one wants to pay more taxes.

    But the bottom line is that I personally know some retired seniors and some middle-age employed that don’t engage in casual recreation on both state and federal lands because of the cost of access fees (compounded of course by the cost of getting there).

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