Home » Opinion » Editorials
Charging seniors: The right policy for state parks
New Hampshire has a user-supported parks system. To keep general taxes low, the state charges a modest entry fee at the state parks and at many historic sites. The individual entry fee for state parks is only $4. That is an entire day at a place like Bear Brook State Park for less than the price of one movie ticket.
The senior exception is generally thought of as a kindness. In reality, it is a cross-subsidy. Every other user subsidizes the "free" access for senior citizens. If the general admission price is to stay low, the exception cannot continue. The parks system cannot afford to let so many people in for free. (The politician exception is inexcusable and never should have been passed in the first place.)
Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, has proposed legislation to offer seniors a $20 parks pass. For less than the price of a dinner for two, senior citizens could purchase a pass that would let them into every state park and historic site - and Cannon Mountain - for the year. On Thursday, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 17-7.
Stiles says that by charging seniors and the political class, the state parks will see about $300,000 a year in increased revenue. That money will go directly to the parks system, which has struggled financially in recent years even after some reforms that have improved revenues.
It is understandable that seniors would be annoyed by this change, and that Democrats (every senator to vote against the bill was a Democrat) would oppose it for purely self-interested political reasons. But really the current policy is indefensible. State parks fees are modest. Stiles' $20 pass is modestly priced (too modestly) as well. (The bill should include a separate, higher-priced pass for Cannon Mountain.) It is neither cruel nor unreasonable to ask seniors to contribute a tiny bit to the upkeep of the state parks if they want to use them.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Derry residents debate dog leash law - 0
- Man who shot Huskies was worried he would be target of animal rights groups - 20
- Police say three Huskies missing in Merrimack were mistaken as wolves and shot, killed - 75
- Three missing Siberian Huskies found dead - 5
- 3 communities may share animal officer - 0
- Merrimack dog owner desperate to find three missing Huskies - 1
- Dock-diving dogs woof it up at Humane Society fundraiser - 0
- Walk for Whiskers to raise money to support shelter - 0
- Falcon recovering from first-of-its-kind cataract surgery - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Home-grown talent has UNH women's cross country out in front - 0
- Roger Brown's First and 10: Playoff picture will get clearer - 0
- New players, new coach, new look for Monarchs in home opener tonight - 0
- Making it up: Shameless state Senate attacks - 1
- Blackwater verdict stuns NH dad - 0
- FairPoint paying thousands a day for police details at Manchester sites alone - 0
- Police say man robbed Rochester bank wearing zebra print dress - 0
- New York doctor who worked in West Africa tests positive for Ebola - 0
- UMass Lowell polls show senate, gubernatorial races still a close call - 0
UPDATED: Flood warning issued for southern NH; leaks force visitation to be cancelled at Goffstown women's prison
Debate rule No. 1: Don't crash
Jonee Earthquake band shakes Shaskeen
Fixing Obamacare: Shaheen offers no way out
Blackwater verdict stuns NH dad
Making it up: Shameless state Senate attacks