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Letter: Fee at parks could hurt stores, restaurants where visitors stop

Letter: Fee at parks could hurt stores, restaurants where visitors stop

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I wanted to give some feedback regarding proposed non-Catawba County visitor fees for parks in the county. I stand in opposition to this proposal for a couple of reasons which I'll detail briefly.

First, fees in these parks will be a deterrent to folks visiting Catawba County. I believe the fees would be a net loss for us due to the inevitable loss of income to our local small businesses like stores and restaurants who would suffer because the county would be discouraging visitors to our county.

Secondly, it seems like a short-sighted, punitive tax to our neighbors. Adding a fee is not a business friendly or welcoming position for our county to be taking. We should be welcoming visitors and their business patronage from all our surrounding counties — not punishing them!

Plus, if Catawba County starts charging visitors, then it is likely our surrounding counties will start penalizing our residents when we visit their parks!

Lastly, when my wife and I moved here 15 years ago we noticed one of the great aspects of North Carolina parks. There were no admission fees, period. How great is that?

Free park access is very different from most other states that we have lived in and visited. Will that last forever? Maybe not. But certainly we would agree that during these difficult times for our society, government leaders shouldn't be making policies that cripple residents and small business.

As Catawba County residents, we love visiting our parks. And we should be freely sharing our beautiful resources with everyone who would like to visit. Ultimately, Catawba County residents and small businesses will suffer if this proposal succeeds.

Craig Hopkins

Newton NC

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