Additional fees bother some Wayne regulars

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 21, 2004

While most Wayne National Forest visitors do not mind paying fees for camping or canoeing, many balk at the thought of having to pay additional fees that could include a fee to enter the forest.

That may be what people will face if a pending congressional bill gets passed.

Marshall University students Scott Weinberg of Philadelphia and Aaron Williams of Washington D.C. have camped at the park several times.

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"I always understood national parks were free," Weinberg said, "It seems like another way for politicians to get more money."

David Thomas of Greenup, Ky. took recently took his family to swim at Lake Vesuvius. He said he understands having to pay fees if it is used to pay for park rangers' salaries, yet he also expressed dismay with proposed additional fees.

"I think people prefer to go to places like this to avoid bureaucracy. It's ridiculous when bureaucrats follow you out here," he said.

Currently, the park has a self-service, drive-thru pay station set up for camping fees and swimming is free.

Camper Diana Russell of Pedro said she does not mind paying fees to camp, but there is a problem with reservation of spaces.

"You can pay for two days right now - to reserve for three days costs $9 extra. It's a nice place and we should have the right to stay until we leave if we've paid," she said.

"You shouldn't have to pay anything to go for a walk or lay on a blanket to have a picnic. No way - it's ridiculous. Our taxes already pay rangers' fees so don't be putting that in my face either," said Cynthia Shafer of South Point.

"They're already doing it not even 250 miles away in Virginia. I think if one does it, they all do it. Isn't that how the chain works?" Shafer questioned.

Shafer said she doesn't mind paying fees for services such as boating, horseback riding or swimming, but to charge initial entry fees is going way too far.

Wayne National Forest officials could not be reached for comment.

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