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Thread: Lafayette Place and Old Bridle Path Parking Fees proposed

  1. #1
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    Lafayette Place and Old Bridle Path Parking Fees proposed

    This popped up on the Salmons Falls Website.

    http://www.newhampshirelakesandmount...nia-Notch.html

    Nothing in there proposes expanding the parking at either lot, it makes sense that if folks that are taking the shuttle need to pay that those using the lot should also be paying. My guess is hut guests paying for an overnight at Greenleaf will not care much either way. It doesn't deal with the occasional overflow situation at the Basin. My guess is it will really cut down on the families who like to hike just up to the water falls on Falling Waters and the very popular family hike to Lonesome Lake.

    The down side with a shuttle is it it concentrates usage to a smaller window corresponding to the shuttle hours. I encountered folks with headlamps hiking up the breakdown lane to the tram lot and possibly the shuttle lot when the shuttle was in operation in 2019 (and parking enforcement went on full aggressive mode) . I am unsure if it was related to hikers parking at the tram lot or late hikers who missed the last shuttle, but my guess is it was a mix. No matter what the reason a very dumb thing to do given the speeds and clearances.

    Note Phil Bryce seems to have become the "pay to play" advocate of the NHPRD given his proposal on the Mt Washington Summit fees.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 08-09-2021 at 08:37 AM.

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    This popped up on the Salmons Falls Website.

    http://www.newhampshirelakesandmount...nia-Notch.html

    Nothing in there proposes expanding the parking at either lot, it makes sense that if folks that are taking the shuttle need to pay that those using the lot should also be paying.
    People riding the shuttle are arriving at/after 8:30 in the morning. The "penalty" for that is having to ride the shuttle. If they want to park in one of the trailhead parking areas they need to get to those lots a LOT earlier. If they can't, then take the shuttle. The shuttle loses money? ...raise the price. If people park in NO PARKING spots on the highway, tow them.

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    I am in favor of parking fees at the most popular trailheads. That will somewhat deter the long-standing high traffic on these trails, which are being trampled into muddy chaos. As someone who has worked on the Old Bridle Path since 1982, I have seen the erosion accelerate over a few decades. Such paths need frequent upkeep, both tending (level 1) and fixtures (level 2).
    The fees will probably go into the NH State Park general fund, with nothing for trail repair or upkeep, but at least some hikers will go park where there is no charge. Once the USFS started what they called the 'fee pilot' program in the early 2000s, people wanting to park for free clustered at NH state park lots. The State lost a gold mine of parking fees and tow charges over more than a decade. They got all the goodwill and hiker dollars in the economy, though.
    Where Parks money should be spent is a separate discussion, although USFS experience was that parking fees were paid willingly enough if people could see some benefit to themselves. To help that, the USFS published annual reports for the WMNF that included color photos and pie charts of income and outgo. Those were also posted at trailheads on kiosks, at visitor info centers etc. Much of what money was raised was actually spent on trail infrastructure, and that was emphasized in the annual reports.
    Last edited by Creag Nan Drochaid; 08-09-2021 at 06:45 PM.

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    I don't know what the rights answer is but note that increasing fees discriminates against those unable to afford them, leading to elitist hiker syndrome.

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    I am not sure of the right answer either. However, anyone who can afford to drive their car to a trailhead can also afford a 5$ parking fee. Pay-to-play does mean that trail users (of these optional trails ie not needed for survival any more than we 'need' liquor) can contribute towards upkeep of the trails they use. Consider why there are tolls and gas taxes. The principle is well established, and accepted by most of the public.

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    Keep in mind that the state has started planning for a Tram Rebuild or Replacement that is will cost tens of millions for repair and 100s for replacement and two years lost revenue. That will be a capital upgrade where the money comes from state coffers (and most likely Sunapee revenues). The shuttle costs are operating capital that has to come out of the Franconia Notch State Park budget. Two very different pockets.

    There is also a matter of parking enforcement, I am unsure if a typical state employee can write a legal ticket. Does this mean bringing in a state trooper to write tickets?. No doubt a high priority

    Would the parking pass include any Hike Safe coverage?. Logically those parking or shuttling are the ones most likely to need the service. Makes sense to me to wrap the two together like is done with F&G licenses.

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    I did a search today of all the usual sources and there does not appear to be any additional publicity on a parking fee at the Franconia Ridge loop lots. The only update is this has been added to the Franconia Notch State Park Shuttle info Hiker Shuttle Service (pending for the 2022 season) in RED Given its officially spring and about 2 months to May when the loop gets popular, its getting late to implement a new program. Then again the concept may be to just install the pay stations, park an employee and trooper at the lot and let social media inevitably publicize it.

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Feeling good about planning to re-visit the Notch and bringing my bike. My plan is to park at Cannon and ride down to basin and take the Greenleaf trail back.

    How many other trailheads could that happen at? Most are USFS so you pay already. What about C-Notch State Park? The AMC is collecting if parking at the Highland Center. The other lots? The one by the Crawford Connector is on USFS, correct? What about others further below the notch? Davis Path, Kendron? Green Hills, Diana's Bath?
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Seems like inflation is everywhere.

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    Alternatively, is it time for a turnstyle?. Everyone walking OBP and Fallings Waters goes past the paved stretch from the North Parking lot. Staff it with an employee from 7 AM to 3 PM. Figure $50 an hour for a fully loaded summer employee. Put a big deposit only safe in the floor. Collect a fee from everyone who heads in. People taking the paid shuttle show their ticket stub as the fee is built into their ticket. People parking at the lots have a separate per car fee used to subsidize the shuttle. AMC can either load it into their hut fee and supply them a voucher or warn the guests that they need to bring more cash.
    There is no power at the parking lot but a rack of solar panels takes care of that. Heck maybe part of the fee will go to maintain the privies

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Nice that the AMC have no problem charging for parking at their lot at Highland but don’t pay a dime to drop their clients from their shuttle at the Old Bridal Path. The problem in this area is not only lack of space for parking but is over use of the trails and their subsequent degradation in that area and across The Whites. The AMC albeit does trail work but does not directly pay monetarily back into the system potentially just like anyone else using that area. What is needed is not a parking fee but a user fee with the funds going directly back into the trail system rather than giving a non profit cart blanche to continue over using the system while they have a lease to do so on public lands. What’s another five or ten bucks added on to a night’s stay when your already paying well over $100 already. If you do the Math it amounts to a sizable number. Conservatively GreenLeaf alone sleeps 20 hikers. Multiplied by $10 that is $2000. Extrapolate that to peak season at 7 nights per weak. Now your talking $14000. Let’s say peak Season runs about 8-10 weeks. That sums up to be a potential of $140000. Also that just includes peak season at only one trailhead. Just to put it in perspective the CEO of the AMC collects a salary close to twice that amount if not more annually.
    I think that is a great idea. Tack on a user fee for those staying at the huts to be used for trail maintenance. Should be done for all the huts. I'm not usually a fan of fees of this sort but the Huts do attract great numbers of hikers and contribute to many problems.

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    There is an entrance fee at other NH state parks. Why not Franconia as well?

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    Conservatively GreenLeaf alone sleeps 20 hikers. Multiplied by $10 that is $2000.
    Did you mean $10 x 20 or $100 x 20? Btw, I don't disagree with any of this.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    Did you mean $10 x 20 or $100 x 20? Btw, I don't disagree with any of this.
    Your right too many zeros
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Much as folks would like to get out the torches and pitchforks and storm the front doors of AMC headquarters to collect a user toll, trail usage is increasing across the board by folks using social media and on line resources contributing nothing to trail maintenance. AMC's membership is declining and hut usage has been pretty well maxed out for decades. Therefore AMCs users are an increasingly lower percentage of an increasing user base. In theory AMC hut guests are at least exposed to LNT guidelines compared to the general hiking public which of late seems to be drawn to the FRT loop by 10 ten best lists. If user funding for the trails is needed,IMO it needs to extract bucks from all users on a much broader scale than just hitting up AMC hut users.

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