Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy

Karla's Kolumn - Gender organizations and rising park fees are OK


October 28, 2017

I was off last week but had plenty of time in the last two weeks to ponder several issues and I’m going to tackle two here today – gender organizations and park fees.

Let’s start with the Boys Scout welcoming girls into their organization but the Girl Scouts saying they are sticking to girls only, citing the benefit of a single-gender organization. First, I don’t have a problem with either organization’s decision. My question is, the Montana-Wyoming Girls Scout Council said it’s important for girls to have a place and an organization where it’s just girls. It is, but then why can’t boys have that same allowance.

If everything is equal (which it isn’t because boys and girls, men and women are created differently. Our bodies are different, our thought processes are different, we are different), then boys should be allowed their own gender-only organizations.

Personally, I think it is OK to have organizations where boys can gather together with other boys and girls can gather together with other girls. But if you have gender-only organizations, then we need organizations where the two can mingle together like 4-H and do a variety of projects — camp, raise and train animals, learn to shoot, learn about robotics, leather crafts, photography, art, fly tying, cooking, baking, canning and much more.

I believe our world can embrace and support all three types of organizations —single-gender organizations for both male and female and co-ed organizations — and I believe our world should embrace the different organizations.


Second, what’s all the hubbub about raising the national park fees. A fee of $70 per vehicle amounts to a $14 each for a family of five. That’s a pass that lasts up to seven days. Having stayed in one of the campgrounds for a week several years ago, it is a fantastic experience.

I know what you are thinking, what if you go for just the day? Yellowstone National Park is worth $70 a day in my opinion, as is Grand Teton National Park and the price gets you into both. The price is worth it for the many other wonderful national parks and monuments around the country.

The other reason I don’t oppose an increase is I’m a strong advocate for user fees such as at airports, pools and golf courses. The national parks are important and it’s important to keep them available to the public but public doesn’t mean free. It takes money to protect those resources and when our country is broke, and it is — just look at the deficit — you can’t just keep spending money without cutting expenses or raising revenues or both. You can’t maintain, repair or enhance services and programs without cutting expenses or raising revenues or both.

And let’s be real $70 may sound like a lot, but let’s look at other entertainment events. A quick search on the internet shows concert tickets range from a low of $53 to $56 for Katy Perry and Willie Nelson, respectively, to $137 per ticket for Bruno Mars. That’s one ticket, one person. For a family of five that would be $235 to $635 for one show, one night, a couple of hours.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which does include five museums has an adult price of $19, plus $12 for children. For that family of five, if all children are 6-18, that amounts to $62. That gets you in for two consecutive days.

A multi-day ticket to Universal Studios is $72 per person. Six Flags Amusement Park is $77 per person.

Going to a movie can cost between $8-$12 per person, depending on the theater and time of the movie. Two hours, for a family of five $40 to $60.

For those who may not be able to afford it, you do what the rest of us middle-class America families do – you budget for a vacation, you plan and you set money aside for that time you can take that trip to see Old Faithful.

Many of us, myself included, have lived paycheck to paycheck and have had to forego some amenities and “fun” like movies or travel due to not having the money. If it’s important, you save and plan. You don’t ask the government to give it to you free or at a discount.


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