View Poll Results: Should hikers have to pay a parking fee at the OBP/FW and Lafayette Place lots?

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Thread: Parking Fees at Franconia Notch State Park?

  1. #16
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    I'll can never see a trails permit actually working in the Whites. They aren't self-contained, but rather a mix of outdoor areas interspersed amongst communities. Add in the multiple-use aspect and how many visitors aren't actually on trails, there are going to be too many exceptions than to fit the suggested use.

    We have land that borders a section of the Whites. Will I no longer be allowed to walk out the back door of the camp and into the woods? Would I be allowed to be on a trail should I desire?
    IMO your comment about self containment is spot on. The Whites are a National Forest and not a National Park. The inherent unalignment of it's boundaries make it near impossible to have a blanket permit system. On top of that when it comes to Franconia notch most of it is a State Park within a National Forest as is Crawford. On the other hand a more specific permit system potentially for the more popular areas like The Franconia Ridge would be prudent. An interaction between State and Federal Management would certainly get sticky. As far as the AMC it is important to remember they mostly operate on a lease of the land. That lease comes up for review in the not so distant future. As I have mentioned in other threads they need to down scale and centralize their operation. They have most certainly reached a point where there facilitation of Outdoor Education has reached a farcical level of diminishing returns that their mission looks to endow. They are at a point where they are causing more damage than they are trying to decrease and have been for some time. The dichotomous and exclusive nature of their operation should be scrutinized at a much higher level. Their guests for Lonesome and Greenleaf should be shuttled to and from the trailhead from a central location rather than hogging up parking spaces from the general use public.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  2. #17
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    Thumbs up on the AMC shuttling their guests from a remote lot. They already have a shuttle system in place so its matter of modifying an existing operation. My guess is that their guests are already doing it to some extent as they do not have the option of parking along the parkway.

  3. #18
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    So, how is the permit system working out for hikers on the AMR property?

    https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/s...trails-gateway

  4. #19
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    I'll can never see a trails permit actually working in the Whites. They aren't self-contained, but rather a mix of outdoor areas interspersed amongst communities. Add in the multiple-use aspect and how many visitors aren't actually on trails, there are going to be too many exceptions than to fit the suggested use.

    We have land that borders a section of the Whites. Will I no longer be allowed to walk out the back door of the camp and into the woods? Would I be allowed to be on a trail should I desire?
    Good point.

    Better to say, I think a no-fee parking permit system with a) the ability to reserve a significant percentage of spaces per parking area online and b) limited parking that is enforced would be preferable.

    This is only a slight variation of what exists, to be sure.

    Maybe that's the correct path forward for Franconia State Park - enforced parking permits with some percentage of online reservations.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    So, how is the permit system working out for hikers on the AMR property?

    https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/s...trails-gateway
    A lot of people complained angrily at the start of the program. Some people tried to game the system (multiple IDs, things like that).

    This summer the lot has rarely been full except on holidays and weekends. Hiker traffic is down a lot. (I'm not authorized to reveal the statistics.) Trails are in better shape. Fewer rescue calls. So far it seems to be working as intended.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Eagan View Post

    This summer the lot has rarely been full except on holidays and weekends. Hiker traffic is down a lot. (I'm not authorized to reveal the statistics.) Trails are in better shape. Fewer rescue calls. So far it seems to be working as intended.
    I am glad the situation has improved over last year, which was rather frantic. Question is, by what measurement can one say the trails are in better shape?

  7. #22
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    I do not think no fee will fly with Franconia State Park, the reason for the proposed parking fee is to subsidize the shuttle bus which is losing money.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creag Nan Drochaid View Post
    I am glad the situation has improved over last year, which was rather frantic. Question is, by what measurement can one say the trails are in better shape?
    That's what the trail crew reported. My own experience is that the trails I was on were in good shape except a downed ladder on the way to the Pinnacle summit.

  9. #24
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I do not think no fee will fly with Franconia State Park, the reason for the proposed parking fee is to subsidize the shuttle bus which is losing money.
    We have different understandings of fees for public services.

    With sufficient public demand and democracy, all public services could be provided with no fees and funded entirely by taxes. As Garrit Hardin points out in "Filters Against Folly" (suggested to me by Gene Miya, btw), fees are driven by public policy, not costs. Hardin's example was parking meters. A town might offer free parking to help local businesses, or raise parking meter fees to drive faster turn over (again to help businesses). Fees for mass transit are another example.

    IMO, the central question (for NH voters) relative to FSP is what do they want from that public resource? The core tension would seem to me to be how many slots do they want to protect for NH residents vs how many slots do they want to reserve for out of state visitors (who may or may not feed the local tourism industry. Fees are one way to shape usage. It's a terribly regressive approach though and fees generally always favor the rich.

    IMO, budgeting for shuttle buses, parking spaces, public transportation, turnpikes, secondary schools, colleges, and health care are all about taxation and public budgets.

    The non-sense about fee for use is just the marketing spin they put on it to sell austerity measures to a public that largely accepts a radical capitalist mindset that reduces all things - and in particular, state services - to a market commodity.

    The issue at FSP is over usage. Not budget. That's a fictional problem created by a fee for service framing. "Control the frame, control the outcome." -Shegloff.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Eagan View Post
    That's what the trail crew reported. My own experience is that the trails I was on were in good shape except a downed ladder on the way to the Pinnacle summit.
    My report is limited to the Old Bridle Path downhill of Greenleaf Hut: "As is the case everywhere, the steeper the grade, the more problems to fix. This crowded trail is often steep and has dozens of rock steps and about 90 drains from the trailhead up to a curve at the top of a flight of rock steps, then a sharp left turn before the first view to the south. The fixtures were built by AMC NH Chapter Volunteer Trail Crew from 1980 to about 2007. - Yellow blazes in very good condition. - Gentler grades on/below the Agonies have same conditions as fir corridor on Greenleaf Trail. - Judging by the amount of debris and mineral soil in ditches, there was no Spring patrol to clean drains. Sand and gravel that should have been shoveled back on the treadway is still in outflow ditches. About a dozen old wood waterbars need replacing. Side ditches have about a year's worth of debris in them. Many drains will fail within the next year at present rate of filling. - The trail no longer has a treadway that is well-defined and easy to hike (or at least easier than the alternatives). There are a dozen or more steepish places where hikers bypass collapsing rock steps via the woods: these bootleg paths on organic forest soil are eroding fast. In many places, intact flights of rock steps are being bypassed because there is no scree or barricade in place. Conclusion: From the view above that sharp curve on up, the trail is mostly bedrock with drains that need re-digging mostly uphill of the Agonies (whether those can or should be bypassed on zigzags is another discussion). From that sharp curve on down, this trail desperately needs work by a trail crew whose focus is erosion control. Without an inventory no good estimate is possible, but several hundred hours would be a good start. The number and size of rocks that could/should be moved to make room for or support a well-defined treadway indicates a Griphoist rigging team as well as some teams with hand tools and a certified sawyer to harvest trees for waterbars."

    The above report is dated Sep 5, 2015.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
    We have different understandings of fees for public services.

    With sufficient public demand and democracy, all public services could be provided with no fees and funded entirely by taxes. As Garrit Hardin points out in "Filters Against Folly" (suggested to me by Gene Miya, btw), fees are driven by public policy, not costs. Hardin's example was parking meters. A town might offer free parking to help local businesses, or raise parking meter fees to drive faster turn over (again to help businesses). Fees for mass transit are another example.

    IMO, the central question (for NH voters) relative to FSP is what do they want from that public resource? The core tension would seem to me to be how many slots do they want to protect for NH residents vs how many slots do they want to reserve for out of state visitors (who may or may not feed the local tourism industry. Fees are one way to shape usage. It's a terribly regressive approach though and fees generally always favor the rich.

    IMO, budgeting for shuttle buses, parking spaces, public transportation, turnpikes, secondary schools, colleges, and health care are all about taxation and public budgets.

    The non-sense about fee for use is just the marketing spin they put on it to sell austerity measures to a public that largely accepts a radical capitalist mindset that reduces all things - and in particular, state services - to a market commodity.

    The issue at FSP is over usage. Not budget. That's a fictional problem created by a fee for service framing. "Control the frame, control the outcome." -Shegloff.
    I agree with you that usage is the main problem. Let talk about fair solutions to reduce usage. its easy to say control usage but difficult to solve. There has reportedly been a joint group of multiple organizations meeting for at least three years to come up with a solution to overcrowding of the 4K popular trails in general and trails like the Franconia loop in particular. To date there have been no public recommendations. The shuttle was started by the Franconia State Park as a stopgap since the trails group has been silent to date on long term policies to reduce usage. FSP started the shuttle trial as they had what they considered a non tenable situation. Enforce parking bans along the parkway and piss off tourists (a major revenue source to the state) or risk a serious accident mixing 50 to 60 mph tractor trailer trucks with parking cars along the highway. Tractor trailer mishaps along the parkway happen more often then the general public knows and when they do, it usually impacts the entire width of the pavement, add in lines of cars parked along a narrow right of way and its just a serious accident waiting to happen. When FSP started the shuttle they were careful to note that this was a trial and they did not plan to subsidize it in the long run. The first full year of operation would have been last summer after a trial the year before but Covid obviously impacted it. The timing of Covid issues at the beginning of this season impacted the ability to run shuttles this summer so I expect this two year experiment in a inadvertent reduction in traffic on the loop may have given pause. As I and others have noted, the enforcement of no parking along the road and the lack of Canadian tour buses dropping off groups has led to reduction in foot traffic and in general a more pleasant hiking experience.

    As for the approach to state government which is different than neighboring states, the majority of NH voters have consistently supported candidates who support the "pledge" (no broad based taxes) which was popularized by an import from Massachusetts. Generally the supporters of the pledge point out the states ranking of overall tax burden which generally is at the bottom or near the bottom of the list. Unlike other states NH does not have a voter petition mechanism and would require a change to the state constitution to do so. One way to keep the pledge is to "starve" state government costs, one of the many decisions is to force State Parks to be self sufficient and that forces the department heads to collect revenue when and where they can. If the revenue can come from non residents the department head gets to keep his job. I do not think its a coincidence that Fish and Game has had a revolving door of directors for years, the economics are clear that given the many tasks dumped upon them, that the department can not be self sufficient. If a director tells the truth, he had best have retirement job lined up. The NH Retirement system is weighed towards the last couple of years of compensation so getting that bump in retirement benefits by putting up with the charade for a few years means plenty of folks will step in the slot. Phil Bryce has been in his current position for 10 years and clearly has been successful in creating the impression that the state parks are self sustaining. The reality is different where parks are under staffed by underpaid employees that are just hanging in to get state retirement benefits. Maintenance budgets have been cut to the bone resulting in significant deterioration in assets. Phil just got rewarded for this approach as his department just scored a bunch of American Recovery Act cash so he can go on a capital and repair campaign that will buy him several years before the reality comes up that the department does not have the staff to staff all the upgraded facilities. By that time he is long gone.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 08-31-2021 at 08:52 AM.

  12. #27
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    If you asked me anytime before 5 years ago about a permit system, my answer would have been no way. Now, in the interest of sanity, there are trailheads that should require a permit. How to accomplish that? no idea. I decided to retire from the 4ks and I couldn't be happier. I did my share, now I'm off doing smaller peaks and enjoying the piece and quiet. I have not parked in a trailhead lot that had more then ten cars in it, for quite sometime. In my opinion, the tidal wave that has reached the Whites is not going away, it will most likely get worse. Me and my dog don't miss the trash, the rude flatlanders that now hike, the house dogs that have zero training that now get dragged up trails by the above flatlanders and the noise. When was the last time you sat on a summit for an hour and heard nothing but the wind and the birds? Good luck in the Zoo, I'm out of it.

  13. #28
    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    Me and my dog don't miss the trash, the rude flatlanders that now hike, the house dogs that have zero training that now get dragged up trails by the above flatlanders and the noise. When was the last time you sat on a summit for an hour and heard nothing but the wind and the birds? Good luck in the Zoo, I'm out of it.
    I've done plenty of 4ks over the last few years where I've been alone at the summit or nearly so. I think it's a bit misleading to take the Franconia Ridge weekend crowd and extrapolate that to the entirety of the Whites. Now granted, I get early starts and hike fast so I'm usually ahead of the throngs but even on the way down I'm not seeing the rude hikers and litter that others talk about. I dunno, I think of Franconia Ridge as the worst case scenario and even then I've had plenty of quiet experiences up there.

  14. #29
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    If you asked me anytime before 5 years ago about a permit system, my answer would have been no way. Now, in the interest of sanity, there are trailheads that should require a permit. How to accomplish that? no idea. I decided to retire from the 4ks and I couldn't be happier. I did my share, now I'm off doing smaller peaks and enjoying the piece and quiet. I have not parked in a trailhead lot that had more then ten cars in it, for quite sometime. In my opinion, the tidal wave that has reached the Whites is not going away, it will most likely get worse. Me and my dog don't miss the trash, the rude flatlanders that now hike, the house dogs that have zero training that now get dragged up trails by the above flatlanders and the noise. When was the last time you sat on a summit for an hour and heard nothing but the wind and the birds? Good luck in the Zoo, I'm out of it.
    I hear you and I'm also mostly keeping to lower peaks on my NH hikes these days with an occassional foray back to a 4k. I was alone on the summit of South Doublehead this year (granted it was a week day) on Sugarloaf (Nash Stream) 2 years ago, I did not see a single person all day. I was also alone on top of West Royce, North Moat, Shelburne Moriah, Wonalancet, Hibbard and Hedgehog, South Mooosilauke, North and South Percy, Clay, all 3 of the Terraces, Baldface Knob, Eagle Crag, and Stairs to name the ones that come to mind from the recent past. I don't normally spend an hour on any summit but maybe I should. 30-40 minutes is typical even if it's a lunch break. To your central point, good for you, enjoy your moments on the trails and do it your way.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    When was the last time you sat on a summit for an hour and heard nothing but the wind and the birds?
    I swore off the 4ks a few years ago and found myself on a handful of them this summer. I had plenty of alone time on the summit of each, including a trip up Franconia Ridge (via Skook). I spend my days off trail fishing and head up the peaks for sunset or go in the night before and setup camp a few miles in to get ahead of the rush, leaving plenty of time for fishing in the afternoon. Another option is to take up smoking, that always seems to clear a summit pretty quickly.

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