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Mayor: Residents should get break from park fees

August 11, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Harpers Ferry Mayor Jim Addy said Wednesday that local residents should get a break from entrance fees to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and he will seek the support of local members of Congress in his quest.

Addy wants park officials to consider allowing local residents to have a break on the fees if they can show proper identification, proposing that local residents get the break if they can produce a driver's license that shows their local address.

"I think an exception should be made," said Addy, adding that he plans to seek the support of U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

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Addy said an increasing number of local residents have been approached by park rangers asking visitors to pay the fee. He thinks part of the increased pressure is because of local residents allowing their dogs to relieve themselves in the park.

Cars entering the park are charged $6 and people entering the park on foot are charged $4. The fees are good for three days, park officials said.

Park Superintendent Donald Campbell said rangers have not been increasing their enforcement of the entrance fee and said the money that is being collected is done to comply with a 1987 mandate from Congress that parks collect the fees.

"I have to abide by it," Campbell said.

Campbell said he thinks the increased attention on the entrance fees can be attributed to a community bulletin from the park. The park produces the bulletins about various issues, and one was distributed recently on the entrance fees.

The bulletin explains how 80 percent of the money from the fees goes to making improvements in the park, Campbell said.

The fees are collected from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at various locations, including the train station in the lower town, Campbell said. After 4 p.m., the fees are paid on an honor system through "drop safes" in the park, Campbell said.

It is easy to walk into the park along Washington Street without paying the fee, although there are signs indicating the park has an entrance fee, Campbell said.

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