Pitch for free Vermont state parks - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pitch for free Vermont state parks

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Free state parks? Some Vermont House lawmakers think it's a good idea.

A proposal in the House calls for dropping the day use entry fee for everyone. Visitors over 14 years old currently pay a $3 entry fee or $80 for a season pass.

Rep. Cynthia Weed says the idea came from a constituent who uses Lake Carmi in Franklin. The measure would allow more people to take advantage what the state parks have to offer.

"We already offer some free day passes to seniors and veterans and there are initiatives off and on throughout the year to let groups, Boy Scouts or whatever, in," said Weed, P/D-Enosburgh. "It can be looked at as a way for everyone to enjoy the state's natural resources."

"We are not opposed to the idea of making it easier for Vermonters to visit our state parks because of all the good that comes from that, but it's just not that simple as a practical and financial matter-- we need to fill that gap," said Mike Snyder, the commissioner of the Vt. Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

Snyder says loss of the day fees would amount to a revenue loss of $1.5 million-$2 million for the parks budget. Weed says raising camping or other fees might fill that gap. She admits the bill isn't going anywhere this session, but that it's an idea worth investigating.

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