National Parks Service asks for more time to respond to suit over cashless parks

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By BRETT ROWLAND | THE CENTER SQUARE

 The National Park Service will get more time to respond to a federal lawsuit after three visitors sued alleging refusal to take cash for park entrance fees violated federal law.

An attorney representing the National Park Service asked Judge Timothy Kelly for more time to respond to the lawsuit, saying the case had been assigned within the past two weeks. The U.S. attorney also cited other cases and planned time off around the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The judge granted the request for more time, setting June 7 as the new deadline for the government to respond to the lawsuit.

The complaint, filed in federal court in March, seeks to have a judge declare NPS Cashless unlawful. The suit alleges that three visitors were denied entrance to national parks in Arizona, New York and Georgia. The complaint further alleges that the “National Park Service no longer accepts American money at approximately twenty-nine national parks, national historic sites, national monuments, and national historic parks around the country.”

NPS stopped accepting cash at some parks to be better stewards of that money.

“Reducing cash collections allows the National Park Service to be better stewards of the fees collected from visitors,” according to its website. “Cashless options reduce transaction times at busy entrance stations and decrease the risk of theft. Moving to a cashless system improves accountability and consistency, reduces chances of errors, and maximizes the funding available for critical projects and visitor services.”

The complaint argues that NPS Cashless can’t stand.

“NPS’s violation of federal law cannot be overlooked in favor of any purported benefit NPS Cashless could hope to achieve such as reducing logistics of handling cash collected,” plaintiff’s attorney Ray Flores II wrote in the complaint. “Moreover, there is an increased cost to the NPS in going cashless, such as additional processing fees that will be borne by NPS and by visitors who ultimately fund the Federal Government through taxes, in addition to personal surcharges and bank fees visitors may incur under NPS Cashless policy.”

In a 2023 news release, NPS explained why Death Valley National Park was going cashless. It said that Death Valley collected $22,000 in cash in 2022. Processing that cash cost the park $40,000, according to the release.

“Cash handling costs include an armored car contract to transport cash and park rangers’ time counting money and processing paperwork,” according to the release. “The transition to cashless payments will allow the NPS to redirect the $40,000 previously spent processing cash to directly benefit park visitors.”

According to NPS, of the more than 400 national parks in the National Park System, 108 charge an entrance fee.

15 COMMENTS

    • Local Allstate offices stopped accepting cash a year or so ago. I went to pay my bill and realized I was out of checks. Thank God I found the exact amount of cash in my purse + change. The woman there (Palmer office) refused to accept it. I was stunned. Then the woman went on to explain that this is Allstate’s policy nation-wide and claimed that I knew it. Plus, if I pay in cash, it complicates things for them having to take the cash to the bank to deposit it. There is much debate. Some experts claim businesses have the right to refuse cash, and others say no. Since it was the last day the $ was due, it forced me to be LATE paying and while I was waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, my insurance was cancelled and I had to pay the re-installment fee. All because they would not accept cash.

  1. How upside down ; we can’t access OUR Parks , refuges , etc without a CC?

    They powers that be don’t want us commoners there anyway – this is just a step in that direction

  2. The NPS said that Death Valley collected $22,000 in cash in 2022 and processing that cash cost the park $40,000.

    Not much screams gov’t inefficiency and incompetency more than that.

  3. Went to Eklutna Lake on a nice day last summer. Place was packed. After waiting a good 20-30 minutes for someone to leave so I could take their space, I landed a parking spot in overflow. Proceeding to the iron ranger only to see it only took credit cards. So I trudged back to my car to get my card. Only to discover that it would not take my card. It didn’t read my card correctly and kept spitting it back out. So I was unable to hike that day b/c there was no other way to pay. Later I was told that leaving was the right thing to do. Was told that unfortunately, the readers don’t always read right but nothing can be done about that…otherwise could have gotten a ticket. Good grief!

  4. “In a 2023 news release, NPS explained why Death Valley National Park was going cashless. It said that Death Valley collected $22,000 in cash in 2022. Processing that cash cost the park $40,000, according to the release.”

    Last year it cost me nothing to handle $22,000 in cash. So, what’s the problem NPS (aside from gross incompetence and just plain stupidity)?

  5. My bigger question is why we have to pay to use parks we own? We pay taxes on this park yet they want even more money. Maybe non Americans should pay more to trespass on our land. Why does everything come down to another tax on Americans. Besides the Federal government should not own any land other than the Capitol. The Constitution does not allow for the Land Stole from the states by the Park service and BLM!

    • Yes I totally agree.
      The government should get out of owning land that belongs to the taxpayers.
      The government should only have minimal land to put their building on
      And no more.

      • The government doesn’t own public lands, hence the name “public lands”. They’re owned by the American people.

  6. Every business, every park, every place that refuses cash needs to have a lawsuit brought to them. This is how we fight back against CBDC’s.

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