Wednesday, May 19, 2021

CommonWealth Magazine "Should state parks be funded with user fees or tax dollars?"


"STATE FUNDING for the agency that oversees parks fell by $4.5 million over the last 12 years, even as expenses kept growing. To make ends meet, the Department of Conservation and Recreation has had to capitalize on its assets, collecting more and more revenue from those who use the parks or lease space in them.

Two recent examples illustrate the trend. DCR recently began moving ahead with plans to start charging for parking along roadways it owns in Revere and Cambridge. Most of the new parking meters were installed along Revere Beach Parkway, which abuts the nation’s oldest public beach.

The agency also hiked nightly camping fees for out-of-state visitors to the state’s parks. The camping fee for out-of-state visitors to the state’s premier parks jumped temporarily from $35 to $75 last year and was made permanent this year.

Both moves make political and practical sense. Charging for parking is a way of making users share in the upkeep of beaches and parks. Charging out-of-state residents far more than in-state residents for campsites is a way of pushing the cost of upkeep on to those who don’t vote here and whose complaints are likely to fall on deaf ears."

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