True, a bargain by today's standard. But as an American taxpayer you've already paid several times over via the Dept. of the Interior and NPS budgets, not to mention hidden surtaxes built into the system for incremental pay raises de rigeur within the Federal bureaucracy.
The Antietam hike to $6 brings it on par with Harpers Ferry--with a distinction. You cannot visit HF without using the park shuttle buses. Nowhere to park your car now. One HAS to pay. Antietam gate fees only apply at the VC door. One can still quietly drive the battlefield route free of charge. Tepid enforcement. As a result visitation to HF has markedly dropped and no doubt will continue to do so, especially with its re-aligned interpretation emphasis. Locals don't go there anymore, though we know sneaky but inconvenient ways in. Should Antietam officials ever embark on route fee enforcement, they too will experience a decline. That's the way it is. No one likes paying twice, or thrice.
A few years back Gettysburg contemplated closing off its park route and charging fees for bus transport, a concept which went over like salt pork at a Jewish wedding. One can't blame the NPS for searching for alternative income sources to offset gross budgetary shortfalls in a time of greater demand. Direct consumer gouging is an unpopular recourse. Only folks from way out of town will swallow hard and rationalize just to get in. We locals know better.
I would suggest, as I often have in the past, that all should encourage their elected officials to substantially increase the NPS budget. But as a former career Federal worker I would spare you the agony of learning how the bucks are clandestinely sidetracked via their multiple trickle-down itinerary.
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