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By: Ashley Conley

WV MetroNews reported yesterday that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is in the process of implementing a new user fee at seven state parks that would cost each car visiting one of the parks $2 per each entry or $12 for a yearly entry pass. This new implementation that will effect visitors to Babcock State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, Coopers Rock State Forest, Little Beaver State Park, Pipestem Resort State Park and Valley Falls State Park, has sparked a multitude of public opinions and social media reactions.

Those on the “for” side of the fee argue that the revenue will help cleanup and protect the parks and forests while also playing a small part in aiding WV’s struggling budget.

Those on the “against” side of the fee argue that access to the great outdoors should remain free.

According to the WV Division of Natural Resources Director Steven McDaniel, over seven million people visited a state park in the Mountain State last year alone. His logic concludes that if each of those seven million visitors contributed just $2.75, the Division would no longer need state funding to upkeep the parks.

Moonlight-Autumn-Coopers-Rock-WV-21-M

Coopers Rock State Forest (Gabe Dewitt/wv-art.com)

Coopers Rock State Forest, which is only a short 20-minute drive from the campus of West Virginia University and is a popular attraction for students, being included on the list of parks that will inquire the new fee has some students up in arms.

Do you think the fee will actually deter student traffic away from local state parks and forests? Do you think the fee will deter general visitors from them? Comment below and let us know!

And remember, refrain from littering and/or destroying our state parks when you visit. Conservation is key and now your visit isn’t even free.

Ashley Conley is a senior journalism student at WVU. She aspires to become a writer or reporter in the sports industry upon graduation. You can follow her on Twitter @ashleyconleyyy

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