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Ga. proposes new fees to ride bikes at state parks

ATHENS — State officials might soon start charging cyclists to ride on trails at three state parks in north Georgia.

The Department of Natural Resources is considering charging a $2 mountain bike trail fee at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge.

Paul Nelson, assistant director of state parks, said the parks were chosen for the possible fee because of the length of their trails.

He said the department needs to charge fees for activities like bike riding, disc golf, miniature golf and horseback riding to keep parks open and make up for state budget cuts.

A public hearing on the proposal is planned for Jan. 9 at Fort Yargo State Park.

Comments

R 2 years, 4 months ago

Peach Pass for parks YEA!

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byronomo 2 years, 4 months ago

This idea is brilliant! Charge the 2% of Americans who can be bothered to exercise. I hope the state can do a better job of budgeting the marginal $376 this brings in.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 4 months ago

Why not charge a fee for breathing the fresh air at the State Parks, Now that's a novel idea. Who are these people we elect to run this government! They must have left their brains behind them or excuse me they are sitting on them....

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notamom 2 years, 4 months ago

It takes $$$ to create and maintain these trails. Why not charge those who use them most? we've been doing that to hunters and fishermen for years.

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jjbod1 2 years, 4 months ago

Ahh guess what? Not a single penny has been used to build or maintain a single foot of any of those trails. They have all been built and are maintained by volunteers and generous sponsors like myself who are avid Mountain bikers. This is causing a major rift in the cycling community, and if it does go through, many of us will simply stop using the parks PERIOD! We all already pay $50 per year for the parking passes. If they loose that from thousands of bikers, then they will really have some serious money problems.

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atlmtnbiker 2 years, 4 months ago

continuing:

i hope this debate doesn't turn into a bashing of cyclists. we all know there is often enough strife btwn some motorists and cyclists on the road, and that can spill over into other talks. [i don't like them leg shavin' nancy boys either; but i'm just old and too fat to fit into my spandex any longer. ;) ]. i feel if we look at what's actually going on here, we can all agree there needs to be more discussion/alternative ideas to consider.

it's a very unfortunate situation that's being looked at as a short-term fix fueled by the need for generating of additional revenue. i believe the approval to charge these extra fees, however, will have the adverse effect - chasing off those who already pay the most via time, effort and, yes, money...already.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and a Happy New Year to All.

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atlmtnbiker 2 years, 4 months ago

on the surface,notamom, that's a very valid idea. but in reality, what jjbod1 says is true. trails in GA are planned/designed/built/maintained by a very small group of mtnbikers - far less than the total amount of us [from kids to occasional-use families to weekend warriors to spandex-clad racers to the world-class cyclists in the area] that use them - on their own dime. volunteer hours/money/sweat/elbow grease. none of the current annual pass fees go toward the maintenance of current trails and def do not go to the creation of new trails. furthermore, nor will any revenue from these proposed additional fees. sort of a sports double-taxation, if you will.

some other issues: 1. add more fees, we'll find somewhere else to ride. not a threat being made to anyone, but reality. unfortunately for those parks/surrounding areas, $ we spend on fuel/drinks/snacks at local service stations, food at the post-ride restaurants or in the parks when applicable and at local hotels for races/long wk/ends goes with us. areas like ellijay, dalton, dahonega, woodstock, helen, etc. all reap financial benefits of our riding there. 2. every time i turn around we're doing something new to take athletics/healthy living out of our kids' lives. remember when we had to take p.e. in school? seen the local fast food joint selling fried chicken or sausage biscuits at school for breakfast? this is just one more thing to make it less likely a child will get out and participate - mom/dad aren't always going to pay that extra money. i'm not driving the hour+ to ft yargo to ride w my boys, enjoy the beach and eat after if it gets more expensive. we'll simply go find/do something else. 3. cyclists will continue to maintain the trails where fees aren't enough to make us look elsewhere (hikers/equestrians in this state do an equally great job at some of their respective trails, as well). a prime example is ft. mountain park just outside chattsworth/ellijay - the latter known nation-wide as a premier spot for mtn biking. they have always charged more than other areas for trail usage, and it shows in the the number or users they get and the lack of quality/sustainability of their trail network. i have no doubt it's a direct correlation. i've been mtnbiking in GA for over ten yrs, and i've been there 3 times to ride. i've ridden trails 10 miles down the road, however, hundreds of times.

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jjbod1 2 years, 4 months ago

Very good points. I was talking to a good friend of mine last night who not only Mountain bikes but is also really into Frisbee golf. One point he made was, not to many people use the Frisbee golf course at Yargo anymore, for #1 after you have already payed to get into the park, they then charge you again to use a course that is barely even maintained. o he stated why would anyone go there, when Gwinnett Co, has several really nice places to play for free. So even for him and others, its not the issue to pay to park or get through the gates. its the double charge so to speak. On another note, every year for the past 5 years I have purchaced 3 annual parking passes for the state parks every Jan, one for my car, one for my wives, and we also buy one as a Christmas present for my wifes sisters family, so they can take the kids into the parks. This years passes expire next weekend. At this point, I have not renewed the 3 of them, and i will not until this is all settled. Thats close to $150 they will not get from me this upcoming year, start adding that up from many other normal users, and it really going to get bad.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 4 months ago

That logic, would recommend everyone, including kids who ride bicycles on public roads, would need to have a license...

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fyi2012 2 years, 4 months ago

How about a 1% tax on fast food to pay for it.

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R 2 years, 4 months ago

Enjoy it while it lasts if you are of the opinion “why would anyone go there, when Gwinnett Co, has several really nice places to play for free.” That will change shortly too.

But the biggest issue is that fees charged to “maintain” anything usually end up going to the general fund and don’t find their way back to the specific item "need" that generated them in the beginning.

One biker to another a suggestion to improve relations with drivers on the roads; get a rear view mirror or 2. If you need to take them off to compete that’s fine, but on the weekly training events it would help immensely with sharing the road.

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