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Canaveral Seashore Charges for Turtle Tours


    I've wondered what Congress would do if superintendents across the national park system simply shut down programs they couldn't afford to run unless they instituted a fee for those programs.
Loggerheadturtle_copy     I think the superintendents have come up with an alternative to that: Charge more and more fees and see if Congress, or the paying public, cares.
    Word out of Florida has it that beginning this summer Canaveral National Seashore will, for the first time, charge folks who want to go on the seashore's nighttime loggerhead turtle tours, which go in search of nesting females.
    In an interesting twist, the $14 fee will not be assessed kids under 16. Still, if mom and dad want to go along, and they have four kids -- two under 16 and two over 15 -- that's still a $56 charge to watch the terrapins frolic on the beach.
    And don't forget entrance fees -- the seashore is bumping up its $3 per person fee to $7 per person in January 2008, a jump that would make a turtle tour under this scenario cost $98.
    "If I don't come up with (a fee), I have no tour," Canaveral Superintendent Carol Clark told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "We were unable to meet our year-round needs."


Kurt-- Almost among all your posts, this is the most depresssing. I am not blaming the superintendent. People in those positions have to do what they have to do to keep their parks in operation. But charging for interpretive programs really strikes at the heart of what parks are about: helping people understand the world in which we live and the culture of which we are a part. If parks have to charge for these kinds of experiences, then we have commercialized the most important service that parks provide to the American people. Taken to its logical conclusion, we would soon be charging people to watch the bat flight at Carlsbad, an eruption of Old Faithful in Yellowstone, a swamp tromp in Everglades, an American Indian weaving demonstration at Canyon de Chelly, or a tour of the battlefields of Fredericksburg. Doesn't that thought kind of chill you?

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