Rapp de­pends on park vis­i­tors

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT -

Many fam­i­lies in this county have less than fond mem­o­ries of the creation of the Shenan­doah Na­tional Park. Dis­placed fam­i­lies were not al­ways treated well.

Still, at this point in his­tory, we must agree that the park sys­tem is a na­tional trea­sure for the en­joy­ment of all. Also, many Rap­pa­han­nock busi­nesses de­rive their in­come from park vis­i­tors. The dra­matic fee increases pro­posed by this Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion will dis­cour­age vis­i­tors, par­tic­u­larly those not in the 1 per­cent. This not only be­lies the orig­i­nal pur­pose of the na­tional parks but will neg­a­tively im­pact lo­cal busi­ness that de­pend on park vis­i­tors.

This sum­mer, the fee for a ve­hi­cle will go from $25 to $70. When I bought my se­nior pass in 1994, the cost was $10. Now, it will cost $80. Many fam­i­lies will be priced out of this mar­ket to the detri­ment of all. This is part of a Repub­li­can ef­fort to trans­fer tax sup­ported main­te­nance costs to users in or­der to pro­vide tax breaks for the very wealthy.

Next year, there will be four days when there is no ad­mis­sion fee to the Shenan­doah. In 2017 there were 16 free days.

Next, we may see turn­stiles at the Smith­so­nian.

Our rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Tom Gar­rett, has thus far re­fused to meet with lo­cal con­stituents. Per­haps he will re­con­sider to ex­plain his sup­port for this fee hike. The last time he sent a rep­re­sen­ta­tive here, the man was so fear­ful of lo­cal ci­ti­zens that he came armed with a gun. Per­haps our sher­iff would pro­vide an armed guard if Mr. Gar­rett is sim­i­larly fear­ful.

ROBERT BUR­NEY Sper­ryville

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