Nov 3, 2014 8:26 PM
Visiting a national park, including two North State landmarks, may soon require you to dig deeper into your pockets.
National park officials are talking about doubling the entrance fees into Whiskeytown and Lassen national parks -- all in the name of mother nature.
"We're trying to keep up with cost of living as it's gone up over the years, and that's the reality."
Whiskeytown Superintendent Jim Milestone says entrance fees for both Whiskeytown and Lassen national parks haven't gone up in nearly two decades.
"These facilities have reached the end of their lifecycle, so we need new roofs, new sever lines, new water lines..."
Whiskeytown would double its daily fee from five to ten dollars, and annual passes would jump from 25 to 40 dollars.
Lassen National Park would see a similar price hike.
Whiskeytown had a little over one million visitors this year, about half-a-million more than they normally get.
The landmark icon made an extra 500 thousand dollars from the surge of visitors, but it doesn't come close to what the park needs.
"We have 30 million dollars in deferred maintenance that the park needs to address."
Sara Borok visits Whiskeytown a few times a year -- she says an increase in entrance fees could mean fewer visits.
"I think they'll lose some of their visitors because it's already pretty high at this point...if they were to drop it back after they did the deferred maintenance, that would be wonderful."
One local visitor says the idea is a disservice to regulars, and would backfire.
"Raising it or doubling it might just shoot them in the foot, they may not get the visitors that they're counting on."
A public information meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. inside the Redding Library Community Room.
Park officials say they want the public's input on their plan - Milestone says if the proposal is approved, Whiskeytown could see an increase of up to one million dollars each year.
(Photo Courtesy: National Parks Service)
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