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Thread: Proposed $5 entrance fee for Mt Washington Summit Building

  1. #1
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    Proposed $5 entrance fee for Mt Washington Summit Building

    https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/...17badd832.html

    The cog and autoroad were paying a fee to the obs for every visitor until a few years ago when the Cog pulled out of the deal. This fee goes directly to the state so I wonder how the Obs pays their bills.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 12-15-2020 at 03:52 AM.

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    Depends on what bills you think OBS owes that aren't included in their summit lease agreement with NHSP. Obs is funded for the most part, through donations.

    Obs used to charge an entry fee to their Summit Museum. Cog and MWAR agreed to man-handle that through tickets/tolls and pay Obs directly, the same year the Obs renovated the Museum to be interactive, rather than simply audio-visual. Cog decided to stop paying. Now who owes whom ? Obs volunteers cook for NHSP summit crew. Part of lease agreement, or part of " one hand washes the other"? Obs still has a gift shop inside the summit building, so they at least have some " petty cash."

    I may be one foot on a banana peel, but ALL of this $$ sniping was supposed to be negotiated and decided among the Summit Partners through the MW Commission. Wonder why that hasn't worked.

    Neither Wayne nor Howie seem to want it to work. Next ?
    Last edited by Breeze; 12-14-2020 at 10:16 PM.

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    I think you are shooting the wrong messenger with your frustration. I believe that it has been publicly stated that the Obs owes a lease fee to the state for its presence on the mountain and that the voluntary per passenger fees from the cog and autoroad was intended in part to offset this cost? It was also stated in the news that the Cog, under its new consolidated ownership, had elected to stop paying this fee and also has stated public objections to Obs violating his companies claimed rights on the summit? So my comment was if the Obs has some financial commitment to the state on the summit and this cost was offset by fees from the Cog and the Autoroad, how does the Obs continue paying the commitment to the summit if a major contributor is not contributing?. Speculation on my part is that there should be renegotiation with state?

    Complicating the subject of summit operations is the major increased year round state staffing of the summit which appears to be increasing with the addition of employee to manage the new wastewater treatment system. As you stated the OBS is supplying services to the state in doing their management role on the summit and as a destination attraction to both cog and autoroad guests as well as the hiking public. It makes sense to me that as you stated, one hand should wash another in a common in demand space. This apparently has broken down reportedly due to the Cogs owner deciding that his firm does not have to abide by the decisions of the advisory summit commission. Your final statement also implies that the autoroad is also in some way objecting to the arrangement in place?.

    It looks to me like you and I expect many other folks on the sidelines are quite frustrated that the state has allowed the Mt Washington Commission to fall down in its advisory role at the summit?. Ultimately its the states call on how things are run on the summit with the advice of but not necessarily the consent of the summit commission. Looks to me like your frustration should be directed to the state.

    It also seems to be that the usage of the summit has increased substantially, I have not seen any statistics on total usage pre Covid but the Cog has been very vocal about setting new passenger records year over year with the upgrade of their equipment. I have not heard of any recent upgrades to the autoroad that have substantially increased their through put but unless a surge in hiker traffic is a major contributor to increased usage, common sense is that the Cog's additional traffic is a major cause of the summit water supply and waste disposal capacity being exceeded. The logical way to pay for those upgrades is per head of those who potentially benefit from the services offered and that is what the proposal calls for. If the Obs feels that the museum is a shared service for summit visitors then its up to them to make the case to the summit commission and state to formalize funding based on visitors entering the summit building. If the summit commission is unable to agree, the state has the right to impose the cost to subsidize the cost of the visitor center and if the case is made the entire cost of the Obs presence. The alternative is to access some other budget like room and meals but the state park system is expected to self support so I expect raiding the room and meals tax or other state funding is very low probability.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 12-15-2020 at 05:02 AM.

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    A five-dollar fee to enter the only building with bathrooms? What could possibly go wrong?

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    A five-dollar fee to enter the only building with bathrooms? What could possibly go wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    This fee goes directly to the state...
    These are good observations.

    Predictions: Additional $ will go to state government and not come back; workers actually on the ground at the location will not benefit; the resource will be further degraded.

    It's starting to sound like the Adirondacks over there...

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    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    If the verbiage is changed from “entrance fee” to “fine,” then I’m totally cool with it.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    I’ve never really understood the Obs business plan. Is it a research facility, a national weather service outpost, an attraction or a hostel? Or all of the above?

    Whatever it is it’s clear that it is unsustainable financially. So a new formula / approach is needed.

    I would not look to the state for help. They refuse to adequately fund their own park system and F&G.

    The highly touted NH Advantage is based on a system of fees charged to residents, or even better, out of staters. With the red tide sweep in the NH legislature in the last election things can only get worse.

    So Live Fee or Die me hardies!
    Last edited by ChrisB; 12-15-2020 at 11:08 AM.
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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post

    I would not look to the state for help. They refuse to adequately fund their own park system and F&G.

    The highly touted NH Advantage is based on a system of fees charged to residents, or even better, out of staters. With the red tide sweep in the NH legislature in the last election things can only get worse.

    So Live Fee or Die me hardies!
    Watch the politics, please.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I’ve never really understood the Obs business plan. Is it a research facility, a national weather service outpost, an attraction or a hostel? Or all of the above?

    Whatever it is it’s clear that it is unsustainable financially. So a new formula / approach is needed.

    I would not look to the state for help. They refuse to adequately fund their own park system and F&G.
    The state provides millions in general fund dollars to the park system. Unfortunately, the department has a history of propping up certain properties with massive subsidies (such as Cannon Mountain ski area, which is frequently in the red), while leaving other properties with next to no funding.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    The state provides millions in general fund dollars to the park system. Unfortunately, the department has a history of propping up certain properties with massive subsidies (such as Cannon Mountain ski area, which is frequently in the red), while leaving other properties with next to no funding.
    Watch the politics, please.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Watch the politics, please.

    Tim
    I understand not posting about state elections, which I did not, but if discussing state park funding is "politics," it will be extremely difficult to discuss this topic.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    The Union Leader has weighed in with an editorial about the proposed fee for the Sherman Adams building.

    They suggest the Cog and Obs (not the state or Auto Road) do the heavy lifting to generate the required revenue.

    The editorial concludes with:

    ... is the state also planning on charging tourists to use its roadside rest areas? What an image that would present: Welcome to New Hampshire. There’s a fee to pee.
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    IMHO, the entry fee issue is tip toeing around the elephant in room which is the Cog has substantially increased the number of people on the summit and plans continuing to do so in the future. The existing waste water disposal systems were not designed for the current usage and need to be upgraded and someone has to pay for it. The logical parties to pay for the upgrade are the businesses that make their living moving customers to the summit. They obviously do not want to shoulder the burden so the logical approach is come up with an approach that gets a lot of bad publicity and hope they can guilt the state or someone in congress to fund the needed work. Sure I hear the hikers should pay their way concept but I really wonder what the real usage statistics are?. My guess hikers are a very small but visible minority compared to the steady stream of cars and vans up the autoroad and the ever increasing passenger cars coming up via the cog. The cog last year applied to substantially increase their passenger infrastructure on the summit a year ago as their claim was it was limiting their ability to load and unload increased numbers of passengers. They have stated that long range is put in second track top to bottom to further increase capacity.

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    The Mt Washington Commission Website https://www.nhstateparks.org/about-u...ton-commission has a few PDFs on the rational and details on the proposed fee. Jeb Bradley chaired a virtual meeting recently but the minutes are not on the website yet. The Berlin Daily Sun (paywall) has some details on the meeting today. There appears to have been a lot of questions and not a lot of answers but maybe the minutes when they are released in several weeks will get cover them,

    They do give statistics on projected summit uses.

    Based on their hourly use the cog has 30% of the visitors, 58% for the auto road and 6% for hikers. So adding the cog and the autoroad the total commercial operations are 88% of the usage. My guess is the autoroad usage is more spread out while the cog usage spikes when each train discharges its passengers. They project 80,000 hikers per year @$4 per head is $320,000 a year potential revenue if the hikers elect to go into the building. THey did indicate that they will need to provide some sort of free accommodations at the summit for those who do not want to pay to go inside.

    See corrected numbers below
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-12-2021 at 07:27 AM. Reason: math error

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    If 80,000 hikers account for 6% of the usage, that would mean that total projected usage is about 1.3 million. I doubt that is correct.
    Last edited by maineguy; 01-12-2021 at 06:57 AM.

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