I am a huge outdoor lover and a big fan of the National Park System. Before I had children my husband and I spent between two and six weeks every year hiking throughout some of our nation's best national parks. My favorite trip included a month backpacking, fishing, hiking, and photographing Yellowstone National Park.
I say that, to preface the statement that despite my love of the national parks I believe the user fee is fair, and I would even argue that it is a value. An individual can purchase a national park's annual pass that will allow any vehicle unlimited access to the park system for only eighty dollars. Military members are free and seniors can purchase a lifetime pass for only ten dollars.
The unfortunate truth is that our government spends money at an alarmingly irresponsible rate, and while I love the national parks and believe they should receive some funding, our nation is not in a position to be increasing funding to anything beyond vital services due to our skyrocketing national debt.
I believe that one of the solutions to our national debt should actually be an increase in user fees. While I don't relish the thought of paying more to visit our national parks, I am willing to if it ensures they are protected and maintained as necessary.