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
- Ignoring Lyme: What are state, towns doing? - 2
- Sentence fragment: Coco's cuckoo release - 2
- Ban fireworks? Get serious - 12
- Praising freedom: While curtailing it - 16
- Fergus Cullen: No politics buffer zone - some want issue unsettled - 7
- The perfect winner: Mrs. Craig gives when she receives - 0
- A sacred rite denied: Partial justice in Marriott murder - 0
- Casino tax breaks: Bad news for Gov. Hassan - 4
- A medal well earned: Ryan M. Pitts is a hero - 3
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Two vehicle crash in Milton ends with one driver sustaining fatal injuries - 0
- Portland Sea Dogs get past NH Fisher Cats in righty’s first AA start of season - 0
- Keene Swamp Bats edge Sanford in NECBL action - 0
- Manchester's Hanover St. block party kicks off block party season - 0
- Little, MacDonald 1-2 in wild K&N 100 in Loudon - 0
- Kyle Busch focused leading up to Camping World RV Sales 301 - 0
- Somersworth man charged in three incidents - 0
- Hosts hoping for extended Little League district final - 0
- Assisted living facility proposed for Londonderry - 0
Outrageous waste: You overpaid by how much?
Another View -- Tiler Eaton: The Northern Pass project would help, not hurt, NH's economy
Coco is back in jail, but maybe not for long