Bill could add fee to national parks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bill could add fee to national parks

June 20, 2004

Plains- There are always out-of-towners in President Jimmy Carter's hometown of Plains.

"Plains is a lovely little town and I can understand why Jimmy Carter would come back here," says Peter Caldwell of Atlanta.

Visitors flock to the National Historic Site to see where the 39th President lived, campaigned and attended school, and they can do it all for free.

"It's enjoyable coming here free of cost, but from a budgetary standpoint they could charge a nominal fee," admits Caldwell.

That's an idea Congress is already toying with when it comes to national parks. A proposed bill would charge visitors $5 a day to hike, swim and camp in the parks hopefully offsetting the $16 billion dollars spent on maintenance.

The proposed fee is a small price to pay according to some vacationers.

"If I have to pay, I'll pay," says William Lee of Oakland, Iowa.

"I would still come," adds Caldwell.

But those who work at the Plains attractions are hoping what Congress is proposing won't change how they do business at the national historic site.

"We have a lot of people that come in here and want to know what the charge is, and then they go back out and bring their family in, and if we charged, they wouldn't come in. So, I think it's well that we don't charge anything," says Fannie Wiggins.

Posted at 6:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com