Concerning your editorial in the September/October issue, “More money, more partners for DEC”:
You are absolutely right. The Department of Environmental Conservation needs the money.
We hunters, fishermen, and trappers pay an average of $50 a year in fees so we can go to limited areas maybe half the year to practice our art. Hikers pay nothing to do their thing all year long at countless locations.
Solution: Charge a fee through a hiking license and place the money in a dedicated fund for trail maintenance, etc. (This, of course, assumes that the state will not rip it off as they did a few years ago with the ATV/snowmobile funds). Licenses could be sold at any sporting-goods store, town clerk, etc.
On the related matter of parking at trailheads, the solution to that has been in place for twenty years at the Garden trailhead. The Town of Keene runs a shuttle for a fee. The fee is used to maintain the road, plow snow, and pay bills, and the surplus supports the town backcountry-rescue program.
Robert Grimm, Amsterdam