Pryor Asks Corps to Waive Visitor Fees

WASHINGTON D.C. – Senator Mark Pryor today sent a letter to the United States Army Corps of Engineers to request they waive certain fees at local parks, lakes and other facilities so families can enjoy an inexpensive day-trip or weekend this summer, despite tough economic times. Pryor’s letter is below:

June 10, 2009

United States Army Corps of Engineers

Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp

Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers
441 G. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000

Dear Lieutenant General Van Antwerp,

Summertime in Arkansas is synonymous with camping, fishing and other recreational activities at many of the facilities maintained and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We, along with families all across the nation, appreciate the stewardship provided by the Corps to these lands and waters.

During these tough economic times, families and individuals are seeking inexpensive day-trips or vacations, especially as many schools are out for the summer and the weather is warmer.  Unfortunately, even the most minimal user fee can be cost-prohibitive and prevent families from enjoying a day or weekend at the lake, beach, park, or other recreation facility maintained by the Corps and taxpayer dollars.  Given these conditions, I ask that you consider implementing a policy similar to that initiated by Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to waive certain recreation user fees this summer.

Waiving recreation user fees would allow an affordable and enjoyable experience for all Americans, increase the visibility of Corps facilities, promote tourism to these locations, and reinforce the importance of investing in our natural resources.  I believe a fee waiver similar to the one initiated by the Department of Interior will encourage more families to gain access to the more than 2,500 recreation areas and 463 projects (mostly lakes) the Corps supports.  These visits will boost tourism and benefit nearby communities and local businesses, including hotels, gift shops, restaurants and tour operators struggling to make ends meet in this harsh economic climate.

Thank you in advance for your swift and full consideration of my request. Please contact me directly or Andrew Grobmyer on my staff at 202-224-2353 if you have any questions.


Mark Pryor