A few years ago, lifeguards were eliminated at Beltzville State Park because of federal budget cuts.

Who can guess what types of sacrifices will be made by future funding reductions?

We don't understand why officials don't charge, or at least let local municipalities charge, for utilizing such things as the swimming area of Beltzville State Park.

There's a fee charged at state-owned parks. There are fees charged for municipal swimming pools.

Imagine the money that could be made by charging for parking or using the swimming area!

As most people know, the park gets extremely crowded on good-weather weekends during the summer. This requires extra police patrols, more clean-up, and other costs that come with controlling the crowds.

Nobody gets reimbursed for police protection. It's the local residents who endure the biggest inconvenience.

It's not known how much the local economy is aided by Beltzville. How many visitors to the park patronize other local merchants other than gas stations?

Charging even a nominal fee for use of Beltzville State Park facilities could cover most of the park's operating expenses. Or, such a fee could help generate funds either for local municipalities or some local organization.

Maybe if a fee was charged, lifeguards could be rehired. The addition of the lifeguards and the people hired to man the booths for collecting parking fees means the addition of a couple of jobs that presently don't exist. Of course it's not going to lead to an employment boom, but even a few jobs are better than none.

Nobody would suffer from the assessment of a fee. If a fee is charged, it must be done without exceptions.

Again, it is stressed that it would be a fee for parking and using the beach area during summer months. We're not advocating a fee for the hiking trails.

It only seems fair that people should pay for what they use.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]