Saturday, December 22, 2007

NPCA Supports National Parks Pass Over America the Beautiful

Repeal of "America the Beautiful Pass" would allow for return of affordable National Parks Pass

For Michigan's users of the America the Beautiful Pass for access to the three National Forests in the state this story could raise concerns. - editor

The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association praised the introduction of legislation on December 11, 2007 by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), which would repeal the controversial, multi-agency "America the Beautiful Pass." This pass replaced the popular national park pass when Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act in 2004.

"We strongly support the reinstatement of the national parks pass. This pass is a terrific value for park visitors and enjoyed strong public support," said Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey. "We also appreciate the bill allowing the National Park Service to continue to retain monies collected from park pass sales, entrance fees, and other fees."

The $80 America the Beautiful Pass was made available to the public on January 1, 2007, as one of the requirements of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004. The legislation addressed fees for recreation opportunities on public lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. It also provided permanent authority for collecting and retaining fees in the national parks, but eliminated the $50 National Park System pass. Prior to 2007, the National Park System pass gave park visitors unlimited entry to national park sites that charged entrance fees for one year from the date of purchase. Fees from the sale of park passes provided a valuable source of revenue for national parks; S. 2438, the Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act of 2007, would continue to allow the National Park Service to retain fee revenue.

Given the organization’s singular mission around national parks, the National Parks Conservation Association takes no position regarding fees for agencies outside the National Park Service or the effect of the Baucus bill on those fees.

a news release of the National Parks Conservation Association, Dec 11, 2007
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