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County Park Fees

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Saturday, March 11th, 2000 @ 11:33 AM
Subj: Park Fees
From: rhorii@prodigy.net (Ronald Horii)

I thought you might want to start a discussion on a new topic: County Park fees.

In April, there will be a $4 parking fee charged at Santa Teresa County Park and Almaden Quicksilver County Park. The county needs the money to run the parks, so it is trying to raise it by charging these fees. At Santa Teresa, at least, there won't be a ranger collecting fees. They will install a fee collection station at the entry to the Pueblo Day Use Area. It will be like the Light Rail System: there's nothing to stop you from using it without paying fees, but if you get caught, you can get fined. The fine is around $25. At Almaden Quicksilver, parking will be charged at the Mockingbird Lane and Hacienda entrances. There is no charge for walking or biking into the park. You can buy an all-year pass for all the county parks for around $50.

Keep in mind that some county parks already charge fees. Some, like Vasona Lake, have charged fees for years. The difference is that the parks that have charged fees are developed parks with extensive recreational facilities. People who use them tend to stay for long periods of time. Santa Teresa and Almaden Quicksilver are mostly undeveloped wildland parks. Many people use them for daily walks, jogs, or dog-walking for an hour or two. Some questions that people may want to ponder and comment on::

  1. For those who use these parks regularly or infrequently, how will this affect your usage of the parks?
  2. For those who live nearby, how might this affect you (for instance, if people park outside the park and walk in, bike in, or ride their horses in to avoid the parking fees)?
  3. For those who have never been to these parks, will this discourage you from going to the parks?
  4. For group users (school groups, clubs, scouts, family and corporate picnickers, etc.), how will this affect your group's usage of the parks?
  5. Do you feel the fees are justified? Are they too high, too low, just right?
  6. How will this affect the mix of people going to the parks?
  7. How will this affect the ability to attract volunteers to help work on the parks?

Ron Horii

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