Thursday, July 06, 2006

The End of My Own Personal Boycott of State Parks

We just passed the 161st anniversary of Henry David Thoreau's sojourn on Walden Pond (July 4, 1845 -- culminating in Walden or Life in the Woods), and I now give myself permission to return to Radnor Lake State Park after too many years of missing it. You see I absolutely refused to pay ex-Governor Don Sundquist's entry fees for public parks, since the parks were, well, public and paid for to begin with. Republicans always find a way to tax by other means, but Phil Bredesen has now eliminated those fees; so, woo hoo! My boycott is over.

However, S-townWife just reminded me that we also just passed the 151st anniversary of Walt Whitman's publication of Leaves of Grass (July 4, 1855), and it is time for me to mow the yard again.


  1. should we boycott the golf courses until they eliminate greens fees?

  2. boycott whatever you want to

    knock yourself out

  3. I'm interested in your opinion. What is wrong with user fees?

  4. Nothing is absolutely wrong with the idea of user fees. But nothing is absolutely right with the idea either. User fees should be judged on the merits of the service and the users.

    While my boycott decision was personal and until now not publicized for effect on others, I can imagine that an argument could be made that a user fee on state parks is regressive when compared to greens fees. State parks are a recreational/educational service intended for the widest possible group of users than are golf courses. The latter generally attract a narrow cross-section of middle and upper class males, who have a special golf skill set. Hence, providing and maintaining a large swath of land for a relatively small cross-section of the public costs much more than reserving and preserving a large swath of land that accommodates many different tastes and interests, including those of the lower classes.

    So, I would not be in contradiction by opposing the more regressive user fee for state parks while remaining apathetic-to-leaning-supportive (which I am) about the progressive use of greens fees, based the differences in use and users. I also think that user fees should be used selectively, like charging back-country hikers a trail fee not charged to the general public.

    When it comes to user fees, I pick my battles. I chose not to pay the Sundquist fees.

  5. Good response. I would only quibble with a couple of points.

    Golf isnt restricted to only mid and upper classes any longer. Take a tour through Shelby, as an example, and you will see a broad cross section of people.

    And the fees weren't Sundquist alone. He tried to enact an income tax and the legislature didnt agree, so the fees were an outgrowth of the need for another source of revenue.