State Parks Are in Danger of Becoming Victims of 2020

Backpacker Magazine includes insight from RFF Senior Fellow Margaret Walls on funding for state parks during the pandemic.

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Nov. 6, 2020

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Backpacker Magazine

If [creating a dedicated nonprofit] isn't enough, Margaret Walls, an economist with Resources for the Future, worries that California may increase park fees to balance its accounts—a move which could keep lower-resourced communities out.

“It’s really important to keep parks accessible for people who don’t have much income,” Walls says. Instead of raising entry fees, she suggests upping prices for things like campsite and boat rentals, which don’t bar entry to low income visitors. In a normal year, California’s state parks would play host to about 75 million visitors, with rental and use fees making up around a quarter of its budget; If the state is able to funnel hikers and tourists into its functioning units (including, partially, Sugarloaf Ridge), that cash could go a long way.

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