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Entry Fee Waiver Sought for 2,500 Corps Sites

June 15, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., wants the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to follow the example of the National Park Service and waive certain fees to stimulate vacation travel. 

official-headshotPryor sent a letter Wednesday (June 10) to the Corps’ chief, Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, asking him to waive some visitor fees this summer at parks, lakes and other facilities maintained by the Corps, according to the Arkansas News, Little Rock. 

“During these tough economic times, families and individuals are seeking inexpensive day trips or vacations, especially as many schools are out for the summer and the weather is warmer,” Pryor said in the letter. 

“Unfortunately, even the most minimal user fee can be cost-prohibitive and prevent families from enjoying a day or weekend at the lake, beach, park, or other recreation facility maintained by the Corps and taxpayer dollars. 

“Given these conditions, I ask that you consider implementing a policy similar to that initiated by Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to waive certain recreation user fees this summer.” 

Salazar announced last week that the National Park Service would waive entrance fees at its parks this summer on the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19 and Aug. 15-16. 

Pryor said fee waivers at the more than 2,500 recreation areas maintained by the Corps would boost tourism and benefit nearby business and communities that are “struggling to make ends meet in this harsh economic climate.” 

P.J. Spaul, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District, said if the Corps were to adopt a policy similar to the one announced by Salazar, it likely would waive entrance fees, which are typically $1 per person or $3 or $4 per vehicle, Spaul said.

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