By George Moffatt
The National Park Service is trying to stick it to New Jersey residents again. It was bad enough when the Park Service abysmally tried to commercialize Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook. Now they intend to double the entrance fees next year.
Superintendent Linda Canzinelli said the hikes at Sandy Hook bring it in line with other Shore communities. However, a newspaper quickly put the lie to that statement, noting that many communities charge less. In effect, she wants to charge whatever the market will bear.
But the greed, for whatever reasons, doesn’t extent to Jacob Riis Park and Staten Island.
Consider: The daily vehicle fee at Sandy Hook would jump from $10 to $20, with the bogus inducement that if you show up the next day, you get in free. Seasonal passes jump from $50 to $100, and daily oversized vehicles from $25 to $50.
Riis, now at $5 daily, will only increase to $10, seasonal passes from $40 to $65, and oversized vehicles from $25 to $50.
But the big insult is that Staten Island remains free.
Spokesman John Warren said the Park Service doesn’t charge at Staten Island because the water quality isn’t that great. Fair enough, but since that water also flows past Sandy Hook, shouldn’t it be free as well?
Warren claims Riis gets a better deal because nearby beaches charge about the same, but Canzinelli ignores that yardstick when justifying Sandy Hook’s hikes.
I suspect Sandy Hook visitors are really paying for lifeguards at Staten Island and Riis.
The tone deaf Park service is doubling fees at Sandy Hook — at a time of a possible second recession, catastrophic unemployment, and unprecedented home foreclosures — because it thinks it can get away with it. Always count on a bumbling bureaucrat putting his or her advancement over the common good.
True, radical right wing wackos in Washington have been starving the Park Service for years. But when it dumps its problems on the taxpayers, rather than working smarter (yes, an oxymoron), my sympathy quickly dissipates.
Beware. The bunglers are coveting your wallet – again.
George Moffatt lives in Oceanport