Strong majority support free park admission for seniors - 255 participants, 665 responses

Apr 07, 2016

SB 441, a bill currently being considered by the New Hampshire House, repeals a law that requires free admission to state parks for residents age 65 and older, and instead allows the Division of Parks and Recreation to set fees for seniors on weekends and holidays. On April 7, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posing the question, “Should the state charge seniors for park admission?”

“Should the state charge seniors for park admission?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Participation:

A total of 74% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 26% of participants – a higher than usual percentage - engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 665 responses from 255 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A strong majority, at 94% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, argued for keeping state park admission free for seniors.

  • "Free park and fishing encourages our senior population to stay active. This has all kinds of benefits to not only the health and happiness of our seniors - but financially.”
  • “They have paid out enough and most are living on fixed budgets that don't cover anything but necessities.”
  • “I think seniors should have free admission to state parks. Many of them will just not go if they have to pay.”

Yes: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 6%, supported charging seniors fees to enter state parks.

  • “If you use the facility you should pay. Any reason you use to argue for free use could apply to anyone.”
  • “I'm a senior and I don't mind paying. It's well worth it.”
  • “We need to pay the state workers that manage the places. Nothing in life is free.”

Other: As noted above, a higher-than-usual 26% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • A large portion of those making broader comments argued that all NH residents should have free park admission: “The very fact that any NH resident needs to pay for access to our own land is absurd.”
  • Others discussed alternative modes of calculating fees and discounts: “Maybe we should means test them first.”
  • Some raised other related issues: “Why is Cannon Ski Area owned by the New Hampshire government?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you think NH should charge seniors for park admission? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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