A (too small) step in the right direction
A bill in the state Senate would take a small step toward correcting a major gaffe embraced by the Legislature last year, the Discover Pass.
The wrongheaded attempt to close budget gaps by making public land users pay to stop alongside the road is wrong on so many levels it could unite socialists and libertarians, but nobody plugging a $2 billion budget hole is in the mood to hear that this year.
Instead, they may address a flaw that may make the whole concept of paying to access public lands a little less onerous. At least your $30 annual pass could legitimately be used with two different vehicles registered at the same address. If one weekend you’d like to take your family minivan to Northrup Canyon to take the family hiking, you can do that. Then the next day you could transfer that pass to your pickup for towing the boat into the Northrup Canyon boat launch (just to drive in; you still have to pay another fee to launch). If your family wants to do both at once, you’re out of luck; buy another pass.
Perhaps one day the state’s people will once again insist on access to state lands for all citizens, regardless of ability to pay. Until then, let’s hope for small changes back toward that slightest of economic justices, which we used to afford to all.
editor and publisher