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.
@HoppyKercheval WV has to start chipping away at this MASSIVE debt. We need more revenue. Other states have been charging to enter state parks for years.
— Chelsea Thompson (@MsChelseaT) April 25, 2017
dude @ everyone who is pissed at WV state parks charging admission: kiss my grits, this is a great idea, it’s a dollar a month
— Farah (@danielFARAHday) April 25, 2017
— 🐢Daniel 🐍 (@PHSJonas) April 25, 2017
Those on the “against” side of the fee argue that access to the great outdoors should remain free.
So in WV some state parks are supposed to be charging $2 when you enter the park. That’s some bullshit.
— Hunter Scarbro (@DeafBoi) April 25, 2017
I am so upset they’re charging go get into our state parks. This is ridiculous.
— Rebekah. (@rebekahfskeens) April 25, 2017
Strongly oppose day-use fees for state parks and forests (making up budget shortfalls caused by corp. tax cuts). Public lands = our lands. https://t.co/hRyZ0w4LOx
— Liana Krissoff (@Liana_K) April 24, 2017
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.
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.
So we’re going to have to pay to get into Coopers Rock and other state parks now? Sad.
— Bradley (@b_radd_11) April 25, 2017
Wtf there goes coopers rock visits https://t.co/cx8k0rVXGb
— jchabs (@JulieChabot12) April 25, 2017
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.