The presumption and idiocy of so many people still astounds me, the most recent examples coming from folks who think they can do any wild thing and be safe, or least be rescued if they aren't, because of their high-tech connectivity.
But what many are doing is abusing accessibility and running up national park costs -- costs that all taxpayers eventually pay.
As an ever more wired and interconnected public visits the parks in rising numbers, reports the New York Times, technology often figures into mishaps:
People with cell phones call rangers from mountaintops to request refreshments or a guide; in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one lost hiker even asked for hot chocolate. … And last fall, a group of hikers in the canyon called in rescue helicopters three times by pressing the emergency button on their satellite location device. When rangers arrived the second time, the hikers explained that their water supply "tasted salty."
"Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation
that they can do something stupid and be rescued," Jackie Skaggs,
spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, told the paper.
While technology, such as cell phones or GPS locators or emergency signals, has helped save lives, often the emergency personnel can't communicate with those calling. So they send out rescue helicopters and teams as if each alarm is a worst-case scenario.
And those rescue expeditions, whether unwarranted or real, aren't cheap. The Times notes that helicopter trips into the Grand Canyon National Park, for example, can cost as much as $3,400 an hour.
The bottom line is that every park, national and state, needs to be ready to answer all calls for help.
But since taxpayers are the ultimate payers for parks, the facilities should institute a crash tax system and charge folks who send unnecessary requests for assistance.
- Prepare for the crash tax
- Travel taxes continue to climb
- Get vacation help from the taxman
- Ways to save on your driving vacation
- Tax proposed on carry-on bag fees
- Taxing the tourists
- Travel taxes can really add up
- Vacation home tax breaks
- Alaska tax tidbit: cruise tax cut