Important news - Denver Post 8/21/01 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

For those of you who like to back pack into your favorite scenic vista and make need to read this. This mornings DENVER POST, page an article by Post reporter and editorial board member, Penelope Purdy..a good friend. The article it titled, "Resounding uproar over fees". You need to read it!....unless you don't care about paying feed for access to the wild federal lands where you take your great photographs. If you don't care, this is what you can expect. You can expect to see a money drop-box at the wilderness sites you so revere, and carry alot of dollar bills with you. At the rate we are going, your going to have to backpack five five miles into the wilderness vista you want to record, and just at the perimeter, you will have to drop a few of your dollars into the box, get a permit, and pay your fee. This is YOUR land...federal land owned by US...THE PEOPLE. I strongly urge each of you to go on the Denver Post internet site, read this article, and understand the threat this project represents. Make your voices heard,...unless of course, you don't mind having a $$$ permit to access the wilderness you and other taxpayers own....and are willing to pay a fee to set up your tripod. THINK ABOUT IT! Richard Boulware - Denver.

-- Richard Boulware (, August 21, 2001


Richard, remember when we were young and you could go to a national park without paying a fee to get in or dues of any kind because you were a citizen of this country and the citizens were the government, well, that is not the case any more, we are still citizens, but we no longer run the country, the BLM, National Park Police, National Park Service and who knows how many other agencies run them for their own interests. Pat

-- pat krentz (, August 21, 2001.

Here is the story address:,1002,154%257E111503,00.html

The more folks know about this subject in whatever state they live in, the better we all are.

-- Michael Kadillak (, August 21, 2001.

At the risk of getting crucified, let me say that I actually think the fees at US national parks are too LOW. While it's nice to say that every American should contribute equally to the tab for managing wilderness lands, as with any other realm in our society I don't think it's wrong for those who use something the most to contribute a few dollars more for its upkeep.

I know it's an unpopular position; I suppose I've talked with too many park rangers who relate endless stories of tourists who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to a park or wilderness area and then balk at paying a $10 entry fee (for something far more fulfilling than any amusement park!).

............. ............. ......

-- John (, August 21, 2001.

The Denver Post article concerns fees for National Forests, not National Parks. National Parks have for a long time charged fees for entrance. A one-year pass allowing entrance to all US National Parks is $50 per vehicle (or at Rocky Mountain National Park, $30 for an annual pass, or $15 for a 7 day pass). For $15 additional ($65 total), a Golden Eagle Yearly Pass can be obtained to also include fees for all sites managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U. S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. If a "per person" fee is charged instead of "per vehicle," the pass includes all persons in the immediate family.

-- Michael Feldman (, August 21, 2001.

I guess their not making as much money bringing drugs into the country as they use to.... Thanks for the heads up.

-- Wayne Crider (, August 21, 2001.

I pay my fee every year, its called taxes. Pat

-- pat krentz (, August 21, 2001.

We all pay many "taxes" or "fees" that are based on "usage" rather than income or headcount. These include fees (or taxes) on gasoline, automobile licenses, toll roads, public museums, etc.

-- Michael Feldman (, August 21, 2001.

WAKE UP YOU CLOWNS! Have you even read the article? WE are talking about fees on BLM land, National Forests etc. NOBODY is talking about an entrance fee for "JELLYSTONE NATIONAL PARK"! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT ANY FEDERAL LAND! ANY Federal land. Purdy says in her first paragraph...." national forests and other public land"! I've got it! How about you treking for ten miles with your view camera into a remote site of a pristine water fall on federal land controled by the BLM. You get to your site, and you see a yellow Kodak arrow that says this is a greap "Photo OP'! Right next to the Kodak sign, it says, "Please deposit five dollars as a fee to place your tripod in the ground, and help us prevent soil errosion. PERMIT REQUIRED FOR TRIPOD"! WAKE up and smell the coffee, boys. Sorry for the nasayers who responded without even reading the article by purdy, but, like others, I think I paid my fee on IRS DAY, APRIL 15th! WHAT YOU NOW TAKE FOR GRANTED, WILL SOON BE LOST, UNLESS YOU PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR POSTERIOR AND MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOW TO YOUR REGIONAL U.S.REPRESENTATIVE. I figure a spot at Yosemite, and an Ansel Adams spot will be at least $20...just to plant your tripod. THINK ABOUT IT!

-- Richard Boulware (, August 21, 2001.

Yes Richard, we read it. I mentioned that the fees are for National Forests (not National Parks) in my post above (Didn't you read it!). Speaking of user fees, how come you are not complaining about the $300-500 in fees (over and above the sales tax on gasoline) you pay each year for gasoline? What about fees to attend public colleges, toll roads, etc. Do you object to these fees also?

-- Michael Feldman (, August 21, 2001.

As a concept, I don't have a problem with "user" or "impact" fees. I believe that MAINTENANCE of public lands is an appropriate use of our tax dollars, but I believe that users of a resource should bear the burden of repairing damage and making improvements. Many heavily used public lands are suffering horribly from overuse, and I suspect that most reasonable people would agree to a small fee if they knew that the money would be recycled back into the area in the form of restoration and improvement efforts. Unfortunately, as is often the case with government solutions, this program doesn't work that way.

I've heard varying figures about how the money from this experiment is distributed; The referenced article says that only 2% goes towards "trail" improvement. The figures I have (US Forest Service figures from 2000) claim between 6% and 9% goes towards improvement of all "facilities" (including trails) and list only a miserable .5% towards habitat improvement.

Best case, that's less than 10% for improvements. Repair figures tend to get thrown in with the maintenance costs, but as near as I can calculate, the repair costs can't total more than another 10% to 12%, which means that less than 25 cents on the dollar goes to what I would consider reasonable.

On the other hand, the referenced article states 30% goes towards fee compliance and enforcement (the figures I have say it's closer to 20%). Government sources admit that fully 25% goes towards planning and administration at this point, which puts basic overhead costs at 45% to 50% or more than twice the amount of repair and improvement!

I've already written both of my (Colorado) senators, and I'd encourage everyone who disagrees with this program to do the same in their own home state. Governmental inertia will probably still extend this woefully inefficient program, but it can't hurt to make your voice heard. Ultimately, the "people" will end up having to pay more and more to visit the "people's" land.

See you all out in the wild during the magic hour....

(... but don't forget to bring your wallet!)

-- Tim Klein (, August 21, 2001.

No Michael, your Liberal philosophy betrays your logic. Let me put it this way. When I buy a college education for my kids, I pay a fee for services delivered. When I pay to use my car, I pay for licences and a data base for law enforcement to catch bad guys who break the law. By your logic, every car load of four people should have three passenger blindfolded, and the toll keeper says the driver is charge $5 for SEEING. The rest of you...if you keep your blindfolds on are free of charge. SINCE WHEN IS GODS KINGDOM AND THE VISUAL ENJOYMENT OF SAID EXPERIENCE TAXABLE. GET A LIFE!

-- Richard Boulware (, August 21, 2001.

Richard, lets not get personal about this. I don't know how you are able to determine my "philosophy" about these things, but you are mistaken in your assumptions. I simply pointed out that we all pay many user fees, many more than we all realize. For example, on my Qwest monthly phone bill I pay over $3.00 in state and local fees (in addition to sales taxes). None of these phone access fees has anything to do with improving my phone service. I share your concern about over-taxation in all its forms. But what I can't understand is why the user fees charged for federal lands are any different in concept than the user fees charged for all the other things we get charged for. The bottom line is that the cost of the management and maintenance of these lands is far more than the fees that are (or will be) collected, so if user fees do not pay part of the cost, citizens are going to pay anyway via income taxes. Regardless of what happens with regard to user fees, you might want to check into the Golden Eagle yearly upgrade. For an extra $15 (over the National Park Pass) I believe that you gain access to all Federal lands.

-- Michael Feldman (, August 21, 2001.

I don't think this is the forum for demonstrations against the United States government's policy on revenue generation. Perhaps Mr. Boulware should contact his congessional representative or senator. Perhaps we all should.

-- Chad Jarvis (, August 21, 2001.

Mr. Michael Feldman: If you took my comments to be a personal attack upon you, I extend my most sincere apologies. My intent was to attack your ideas...not you personally. I am confident that you are a skilled LF photographer or enthusiast, and a nice guy. My point on all of this is that things have been taken to the extreme here! Yes, we pay tax on a bunch of BS charges on our telephone bill that stem from the old days when a telephone was considered a luxury. What nonsense. You are absolutely correct in your assertion that those taxes do nothing to improve your local telephone service. I could not agree with you more strongly. Those taxes are a political compromise by those who need the tax $$$ to promote more of their own social agenda. Prying those $$$ out of the hands of a politician is like trying to pry the cold-dead-hands off a pistol in the hands of a dead zealot. (and I AM an NRA member). User fees on federal lands are a scam. We already pay those fees every April 15th when we pay our income tax. Jellystone National Park is another matter. Over use and high concentrations of visitors puts financial pressure on the managers to upgrade rapidly deteriorating infrastructure...caused by those hoards of visitors. No problem. With regard to the Golden Eagle Pass.....for special upgraded facilities....I have no problem with that....but you are still missing the point. ALL federal lands is the issue. Sorry, but I am part owner in those lands and have paid for that ownership by my income taxes....every year. I can go places to shoot where the last person there happened twenty years ago. Should I be charged a user fee for making no mark, leaving no trail? I think not. Your comment that management of public lands is akin to managing Jellystone National Park, is simply not true. Most public land is cost free in terms of upkeep. Nature just does Her thing...and we enjoy it and protect it. I already have access to federal land, especially BLM land and I exercise that right months out of each year, and I pay no fee, except my own code that says I pack out what I pack in...and leave no trace of my being there. If you opt to send your $300 tax refund back to the my guest. Tell them it's your 'tripod fee', in advance. I am tired of being taxed to death, and being taxed on viewing and photographing wilderness, it going to damned far. The great thing about photography, like Canon says in their that you can go there, do that, and leave it the way you found it. I'll be damned if I am going to be taxed for that.

-- Richard Boulware (, August 21, 2001.

If you read the "horror stories" following the article, you begin to sense that one of the reasons these fees are so irritating is that, unlike NPS admission, they are much less uniformly imposed and much more poorly advertised and understood. If you are unlucky, you get nabbed, but most of the time, there is no clear "entrance station" or fee area boundary.

I was in Ouray in July, and luckily had read about the fee for driving offroad around Yankee Boy Basin. I was able to buy the pass ($5) at my lodging. If I hadn't seen the USAToday note about the arrests, or inquired at my lodge, I am not sure that I would have seen the poorly placed fee box on the way up to the basin. Even when I read the information at the box, it wasn't really clear what areas required a fee, and what areas did not.

I am willing to pay modest fees, but I expect the following in return:

1. Clear and unambiguous description of what the fee is for, and where it is paid. This includes signage at the fee site, and on all USGS and USFS maps.

2. Fair and uniform enforcement of the fees.

3. The fee to be used for maintenance and PROTECTION of my lands.

Unfortunately, given the current administration, I think protection of my lands is a pipe(line) dream.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, August 21, 2001.

I propose a tax on those who use all caps; not to mention those who rant.

-- John Hennessy (, August 21, 2001.

This kind of thing really does irk me. These charges are totally illogical and a complete load of BS from where I stand. I get really tired of all these federal agencies "protecting" our land from all these nonexistent threats and slipping my $5 in their back pocket. Federal lands, parks, etc should not be run like a business. Now, if there was some sort of (reasonable) flat usage fee for federal lands and such, and I could be guaranteed that every cent of that would go towards protecting, restoring, and properly managing the land, I wouldn't have any problem with it. However, seeing as such a set of circumstances has about a snowball's chance in hell of ever coming to be, I must wholeheartedly oppose the policies either currently in effect or soon to be so.

Not to raise any other issues here, but the US government is getting too big, too powerful, and above all, far too stupid. This is a perfect example of how things are getting out of hand. This is a matter of pure mismanagement of lands and how the big kids in DC feel like ruining the game for everyone else on the playground for no good reason whatsoever. Our supposed representatives are greviously misrepresenting us and I think that we really need to do something about it. Whether that means writing letters, joining a protest, or engaging in a bit of civil disobedience will vary from person to person. However, this is one of those things that, given that we take the proper steps, we can do something about.

-- David Munson (, August 22, 2001.

On it's face, it sounds reasonable... Gee, those who use it should pay for it. How nice, how fair. The reality is, we have become complacent, soft and numb. We have been conditioned by clever spin words like contribution and investment when it comes to taxes and government spending. We all just lay back and turn our brains off and get the big screwgie. We are taxed in total right now at the highest rate in this countries history! We are told there is a great surplus (yeah, I know it's just phoney accounting). And now we should pay more? Yes, I love the federal lands. And I go to them quite often around here. But the fact of the matter is the money is already there. I have worked on capitol hill and dealt with budget matters. It would make you sick to see the ineptitude with which federal agencies deal with money. These agencies are not concerned with spending money wisely, they are concerned with spending every penny they have so they can prove they need more the next year. The spending frenzy that goes on within federal agencies near the end of the fiscal year is a sight to behold. At some point we need to say enough. And that time is overdue. If the people who started this great experiment 225 years ago (based in part on a tax of less than 1%) could see the happiness with which some people open their wallets and give money to the government at the point of virtual gun....It would be as shocking as landing on the planet of the apes.

-- michael kwiatkowski (, August 22, 2001.

It was my understanding that the check I wrote on April 15 went entirely to the missile defense program, not to management of public lands.


-- John (, August 22, 2001.

...but I shouldn't be overly flippant about an issue that is real (and clearly elicits real passion!). I think Glenn Kroeger's post above is eminently sensible, and I second the points he makes: if there are to be fees, they should be fair, modest, and well accounted-for.


-- John (, August 22, 2001.

You mean, you're supposed to put money *into* those dinky little wooden boxes at the park entrance?

Where's the fun in that?

-- Struan Gray (, August 22, 2001.

Taxes {income and sales} are lost money. There is no use in crying or complaining about it because it is the government we chose. If you do not like the policies do something to change them rather than typing out your aggravation. In your cushy computer chair. On an impartial keyboard. Burried under your security blanket. Bythe way this is a photograpic fourm not a political one. BACK TO THE REAL SUBJECT. I would like to quote an earlier post "I pack out what I pack in...and leave no trace of my being there" well some people do not always follow this philosophy. I know that as hard as I might try I have lost a few items one is a Nikon 35mm F2 if you have found it please send it back. IMHO it is worth helping to pay a living wage to people to keep up the parks or forests or whatever. Keep in mind that most of us pay incredible amounts of money to ruin the environment with film and paper developing chemicals. I haven't heard any of the photographers even mention this little photographic secret. Bitch all you want but photographers are the biggest hypocrites and should be charged if not double what the public viewer is charged to clean up their well hidden trash.

-- john (, August 22, 2001.

As an aside - I believe the assertion that the Golden Eagle Pass covers these fees may not be entirely true. It was explained to me (at Rocky Mountain National Park headquarters, late last year) that the Golden Eagle Pass only covers ADMISSION type fees. Fees that are specified as usage fees are not covered (except in the case of several, specifically mentioned National Recreation Areas).

My understanding of the this program is that it can also include user fees, and that the Golden Eagle Pass would not exclude you from owing a fee of this type. Several government websites specifically mention confusion surrounding who and when the fees are due as one of the improvements that must be made.

Several highly used Colorado areas are actually under contract to private companies to manage, maintain, and collect usage fees. My Golden Eagle Pass has not consistently been accepted at these sites.

-- Tim Klein (, August 22, 2001.

Thanks John for your excellent reply!!!!

-- manuel (, August 22, 2001.

All public lands should be free, completely & 100% free of any additional charges after we pay taxes. Charging to walk on land 'we the people' already own is asinine.

-- Dan Smith (, August 22, 2001.

Tim, thanks for the update on the Golden Eagle Pass. Here is a quote I found from a federal website: "For an extra $15, a Parks Pass holder may upgrade their pass to a Golden Eagle. An eagle hologram sticker is affixed to the Parks Pass. The Golden Eagle is valid at any Federal recreation area with an entrance fee. The Golden eagle is not valid for USER fees such as camping, tours, and concessions."

I would be interested to know what government owned sites you found that where operated by private companies and did not honor the pass.

I found this web site which lists the federal sites where the pass is accepted: tml

-- Michael Feldman (, August 22, 2001.

Michael - Brainard Lake off the peak-to-peak highway in Roosevelt National Forest and Jefferson Creek in Pike National Forest are two sites that pop quickly to mind. A site in a National Forest in Utah (sorry, can't remember the name) also charged me a "usage" fee to "use" any of the pullouts along a roadway. I was told that I could drive through for free (it was a state highway), but that I would be fined if I was caught STOPPED anywhere along the route. This $5.00 "usage" fee covered me for a week, but the Golden Eagle Pass was useless.

I know that the Colorado areas are not part of the Fee Demonstration Project (I honestly don't know about the Utah area), but since the fees they charge are considered "usage fees", the Golden Eagle Pass is not accepted. As your posted reference notes, usage fees are TYPICALLY charged for things like camping and tours, but by simply calling it a usage fee, they can get around having to accept your pass. In each of the above cases, I simply stopped to see the area and wander around (I'm ashamed to say it, but I didn't even have a camera with me), I wasn't camping, touring, or anything else. I suppose I was being charged to "use" the parking or the trails.

My point is simply that the Golden Eagle Pass is no guarantee that you are covered for whatever fees an area decides to charge.

Interestingly, the areas I noted above are why I originally supported the Fee Demo Program. Each of the areas is pretty highly (ab)used. The fees imposed seem to have been used to improve the general condition of the sites and, despite their heavy use, they were some of the cleanest, best maintained public lands I've visited. I had hopes that the Fee Demo Program would do the same for other areas.

The above areas are contracted out to private companies though and from what I've been able to gather, they are very tightly controlled on what they can charge and how they can and can't use the money. The Fee Demo Program doesn't seem to have that same level of oversight. Despite the apparently poor management of the funds to date (as I noted in my earlier post), the lack of oversight is my main complaint about the program.

As opposed to National Parks and Recreation areas (which must go through a Federal process to establish their rates), my understanding is that the Fee Demo Program allows areas to establish their own rates. The area is also in charge of fee collection, AND they get to direct how the money gets spent. Pretty sweet deal! The potential for abuse in this type of situation is too high (and there ARE reports that abuse is occurring).

-- Tim Klein (, August 22, 2001.

I will be pleased to pay my share in access fees to help maintain these lands. This is a no win discussion, one that personal and emotional impications.

I buy a Golden Eagle yearly pass to access National Wildlife Refuges. This monet is used to maintain these areas. I have no problem with helping out, despite already paying taxes.


-- Bill Smithe (, August 22, 2001.

Cutting out the obvious divergence of political persuasion, several conclusions on this subject are irrefutable. #1) Once governmental based bureaucracy gets a toe hold on a new revenue stream, things will never be the same. #2) The potential costs to you and I (Mr. and Mrs. American) will continue to escalate proportional with the growing mission statement of control. And #3) Since our country was founded, we have never needed oversight while visiting and enjoying Federal lands. I do not understand what has fundamentally changed.

After I let out a Planet of the Apes primal scream from my back porch after reading the article, off went the letters to my elected officials. I recommend that you do not accept the status quo and in your own way justify any nominal cost as the natural progression of our daily lives. Losing the freedom to go where we want on the millions of acres of generic but beautiful Federal lands unincumbered would be a crying shame that I hope my sons do not have to deal with.

When I go back to Montana and see huge ranches that have been amassed and their unwillingness to allow access to Federal lands, it really hurts. Progress has to have a point where we say NO MORE.

-- Michael Kadillak (, August 22, 2001.

The bulk of those who have responded to Richard's post are opposed to fees for access to public lands. Under most circumstances, I would agree. However, you should keep a few things in mind.

Both the previous administration and the present administration have grossly underfunded the agencies who are responsible for the public lands. They have had the full support of the Congress because they believe that the majority of the voters are not willing to pay taxes for such extravagances as well maintained public lands.

Some of you have said that the lands don't need to be maintained. That is true to some extent in areas that are not yet discovered. However, those discovered areas, be they parks, monuments, national forests or whatever, see very heavy use. Enough of those users leave behind trash, drive in places where they shouldn't, cut trees, you name it, that normal citizens get in the face of the land managers and demand action. They want enforcement, and they want clean facilities. The RV crowd, which has become a significant component of the populatino that utilizes public lands, wants nice campgrounds and roads.

Many of you see an evil bureaucracy. I'm not a fan of park or forest rangers who feel and act as if the the land they manage were theirs alone. However, most are actually interested in being good stewards of the land and the wildlife that it supports. They feel besieged by a public that is demanding greater access, either for recreation or resource extraction, and yet is unwilling to push Congress into providing funding to allow them to do their jobs. Most of these rangers are paid substantially less than professional natural history photographers. In some respects, they are little better than volunteers. That only makes their job more difficult.

If you have a gripe about the fees, write to your Congressoinal representatives and tell them that you would gladly pay higher taxes so as to eliminate the need for user fees. I suspect that you'll be told that you're a member of a small minority of people with this view and open wallet. More reasonably, you should particpate in volunteer maintenance efforts at your favorite public lands. Or join a natural history organization whose charter is to support public lands. Such actions yield tangible results not only in terms of material improvements (trails, tash removal, renovations, etc.), they also demonstrate to land managers that photographers aren't there just to extract natural resources, i.e., compositions for your photograph.

-- Bruce M. Herman (, August 23, 2001.

I think respectable arguments can and have been be made both ways on this one but I do think there's one error in the logic "we pay our taxes, that's all we should have to pay." You pay taxes, I pay taxes, and maybe everyone else contributing to this thread pays taxes, but as I recall the statistics from the late, great debate over George W's tax cut, something like 50% of the citizens of this country pay little or no taxes and that's not even counting the millions of illegal immigrants who obviously pay no taxes. It appears that the people who pay taxes, at least in any significant amount, are actually a minority in this country today. So at least the proposed fees will cause those people to pay something if they use the lands in question, which seems to me a good thing.

-- Brian Ellis (, August 23, 2001.

Rather than blame liberals, ou should blame those 'conservatives" who slash and burn all aspects of the local, state and federal budgets (all aspects of course, except those aspects where it profits their big financial backers, like giant cattle ranching operations , big agricultural businesses, the defense industries, weapon manufacturers, insurance agencies, the energy industry, etc.,). These are the politicians who want us (the people with small pockets) pay for using "our" public lands.

Funny how all these issues started to pop up in the wake of the "Reagan Revolution". I don't think it is a coincidence. Guys like both Bushes, and Reagan, and Tom Delay, etc. are exploiting your natural independant streak by claiming to be on your side and "against big goverment." when in reality they are big goverment. it must be really psychically difficult to be railing against yourself all the time. It must be what really makes them nuts.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, August 24, 2001.

Sorry, you can blame this one on the Clinton administration who needed the money to pay for the expansion of the National Parks system that he set into motion.

Here is quote from a story published Thursday, May 27, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News- "In Congress, U.S. Reps. Mary Bono (R-Hemet) and Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) introduced the Forest Tax Relief Act of 1999 to end the program [user fees for federal lands]. Passage is unlikely considering the Clinton administration proposed to make fees permanent in its latest budget."

-- Michael Feldman (, August 24, 2001.

Using land destroys land, so we should pay for that destruction. While I understand Boulware's anger, it is better directed at much greater abuses, such as the 1872 mining law (hardrock gold and silver mines, most of them foreign owned, pay no taxes on the income they generate by mining federal land; this is simply obscene). Boulware's libertarian argument against fees contradicts the libertarian argument against government land ownership. But that is not his fault; after all, what would politics, especially conservative politics, in the west be without such contradictions? The rugged cowboy rancher, who couldn't make it without government subsidized grazing; the rugged prospecting miner, whose work is made possible by governmant tax exemption; the rugged corporate farmer, whose produce is made possible by cheap subsidized water; and the enterprising ski industry, which uses subsidized water, forest service land, and subsidized highways. The west is a welfare state of the highest order, but unfortunately that welfare goes principally to enormous corporations. Were Cheney et al to make these corporations pay the fair market value for what they are doing, the tax revenue from that would offset by several orders of magnitude the petty costs of stuffing a wooden box with a couple of dollar bills. Boulware complains that he is paying too much. He is not. The problem is that others are not paying enough.

Without public land ownership, much of what is now wilderness, BLM, or other government land would be ruined even more by now, whether by Californians, Texans, or people from Illinois, New York, and other deep-pocketed colonial powers. If this land is "your land", it seems fair that "you" should help defray the costs of its management and conservation. Just as you do with gasoline taxes and other consumption taxes.

What does this have to do with photography? More than you think. More photographers need to overcome escapism, and need to consider how "wilderness" and "nature" are human concepts, made possible by philanthropy (Rockefeller giving Teton NP to the government, for example) and government conservation efforts (T. Roosevelt and Nixon, to name two GOP presidents whose conservation should shame current republicans). If they did, more of them could overcome the technically impressive, but nonetheless moronic pornography of Galen Rowell, John Fielder, and other talented photographers who consciously seek to avoid this issue, an issue which Robert Adams has pursued with great success. By contrast, Fielder's book on Colorado is the photographic equivalent of Hustler magazine.

The basic problem is that there are too many people in the west, but that is the reality, and if photographers are concerned with reality they should document that.

-- Burke Griggs (, August 29, 2001.

With all due respect Mr. Griggs, here are some facts: 1. I am not a libertarian and my arguments were not. 2. I am not against taxes...I'm against MORE taxes. 3. The wilderness was in fine shape before we got here, and will remain so, with reasonable controls. 4. The very liberal DENVER POST came out two days ago and voiced the same view as I have, and endorsed the same their editorial., citing the USFS, BLM etc. as claiming 'poor' status to maintain public lands, while they just spent 1.6 million of our tax dollars for a 'privy' at Maroon Bells, above Aspen. What nonsense. 5. The USFS is now charging admission fees and photographer fees at Yankee Boy Basin, and other famous Colorado vistas. 6. I totally agree with you that all the escapism stuff, and I and others are using our photographic skills to doccument the explosive growth in the Colorado Front Range, and the rapidly evaporating rural and ag life style as the ticky-tacky developments gobble up the lovely high plains and a lifestyle that has existed for generations. They are turning our beautiful pastures and ranches into subdivisions. How disgusting. 7. Using land does not necessarily destroy lands at all. This is nonsense. More forests are now growing than at any time in our history...thanks to reforestation programs supported by private sector. 8. If you feel the need to pay for more fees for what God gave you, then sent your tax rebate to the USFS, and tell them it is a deposit for your future "Tripod Tax". 9. Best of good wishes, and good luck. 10. For me, this thread is ended!

-- Richard Boulware (, August 29, 2001.

"If this land is "your land", it seems fair that "you" should help defray the costs of its management and conservation. Just as you do with gasoline taxes and other consumption taxes."

Yep, my paying gasoline taxes sure helps improve the dirt roads in the middle of nowhere I take all too often just to get to 'normal places' near where I live.

Public lands should be free access for all who care to walk on them. NO additional fees at all. Not in the parks or other places. If you want to use an improved campground, then pay extra. But for the normal experience and access we should not have to be harassed.

As to underfunding... maybe if more of these wonderful public servants would bend a bit to pick up some trash, move a few rocks & pound a nail when they see the need rather than putting in a 'work order' for someone else to do it months later the parks wouldn't be in such bad shape. And, if they closed down the damnable motels, hotels, snack shops & assorted souvenir & trash stands maybe they wouldn't need so much 'infrastructure reconditioning'?

-- Dan Smith (, August 30, 2001.

My initial reaction is negative after hearing about the wastefulness of collection costs and the hassles people are receiving. Hopefully, the fees are only limited to the most popular (highly used) areas. After more thought, however, the unfortunate thing is that when crowds start showing up in any public use area the only thing that can limit the growth in numbers is use fees. In the case of Colorado, I have seen almost every part of the state slowly devalued by the presence of more and more people. If this is the only practical way to protect these areas and keep the numbers down, I guess I would happily pay my fee and accept the age I live in. I'm just glad large cities are still so popular.

-- Tom Reynolds (, August 31, 2001.

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