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We are a community of adventurers fighting for our right to explore public lands. The Right to Explore gives a voice to travelers, van-lifers, nomads, and vagabonds who see their lands being taken away.

Join the fight against excessive fees, restrictions, reservations, quotas, and toxic travel culture.

What is the Problem?

The current fees and restrictions in national parks are unfair. Over the last 60 years, annual park entry fees have increased from $6 to $70 and campground fees have increased from free to $25+ per night. For many travelers, these costs are restrictive. For car campers and van-lifers, options are even more limited. Fines for overnight parking on public lands can range from $70-$700+, even in the remotest locations. The Right to Explore is a social purpose corporation dedicated to eliminating unjust costs and restoring access to America's wilderness areas. 

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Why is this Important?

We are facing a crisis of outdoor recreation costs. In less than 5 years, we have seen costs increase by 40% in many of our public parks and natural spaces. At this accelerated rate, it won't be long before fewer and fewer Americans can afford to visit our outdoor spaces. Outdoor recreation is becoming a luxury instead of a right. What problems does this cause? With increasing costs comes decreased diversity. A 2011 survey of diversity in National Parks found that "only 1 in 5 visitors was non-white," and "less than 2% of visitors were African Americans." This statistic mirrored a 2000 survey despite a 6% minority growth in the United States over the same 11 year period.

 

The same 2011 survey noted that "69% of Americans with household incomes of over $150,000 said they visited one or more national parks in the past two years, compared with only 22% of Americans with household incomes of less than $10,000." The National Park Service has conceded that there are significant barriers to entry for diverse groups, yet has only increased these barriers since conducting the survey. It is unfair to leave Americans behind. Every American deserves the right to explore their public lands as much as any other.

What Can be Done?

Each year, the National Parks are estimated to generate upwards of $40 Billion for the U.S. economy. The majority of this economic contribution comes from lodging, restaurants, transportation, and gas in the form of benefits to local communities. Entrance and camping fees make up only 0.5% of the total economy of National Parks- a drop in the bucket on a large scale. The most visited and profitable National Park in the country, due to a public road network of interconnected towns, charges no fees at all. Despite this, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is able to function and profit off the economic stimulation it provides for local towns and businesses. We believe that the rest of the National Park System should follow this same model, used by most developed nations worldwide

Death Valley National Park

©2020 The Right to Explore SPC        inquiries@therighttoexplore.org

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