SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The National Park Service is considering reversing a decades-old policy granting free parking to visitors to nine sites within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Popular spots like Stinson, China and Baker beaches among others may soon start charging for parking.READ MORE: PG&E Charged With Manslaughter For Sparking Wildfire That Killed 4
“My reaction was dismay and sadness,” says Will Benjamin, an avid swimmer. Benjamin says charging for parking will limit the public’s access to the nature beauty of San Francisco and Marin counties. He says it’s an issue of fairness and equity.
“That would really change my lifestyle and the lifestyles of many of the other swimmers who I swim with and who come here frequently. I mean if every time we had to pay 10 bucks then we probably don’t come as often,” he said.
The National Park Service says the popularity of Golden Gate National Recreation Area comes with a cost. A spokesperson says the revenue generated from parking fees would help pay for cleanup, maintenance and construction projects.
“We’re looking at these fees as a last resort to allow us to recover some of the costs that has dramatically increased as a result of extreme visitation in some areas of the park,” says Julian Espinoza, a spokesperson for the park service.READ MORE: UPDATE: Thousands Forced To Flee Fawn Fire; 'I See My Life Gone;' Arson Suspected As Blaze Burns Homes
The park service is soliciting feedback from the public through September 26. Areas that would potentially be affect by the change include Point Bonita, Rodeo Beach, Stinson Beach, Baker Beach, China Beach, Lands End, Navy Memorial, the commuter lot at Golden Gate Bridge and Sutro Heights.
Parkgoers say the fees will discourage people from using the areas.
“It kind of hits you in the gut because this is happening more and more,” says Tighe O’Sullivan.
Others however say they understood the need to generate more revenue to pay for the area’s upkeep.MORE NEWS: Three Charged With Allegedly Ripping Off $2 Million In EDD Unemployment Benefits
“I think there’s a certain responsibility for everybody who shares these spaces,” says Kurt Kevam.