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The end of free camping at Joshua Tree?

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Camping fees at the climbers’ campgrounds at Joshua Trees go into effect February 17th, and are causing quite a stir. As of 12/2, a web poll by Mike Morley of www.climbingjtree.com shows 41% strongly opposed, 27% fairly neutral, and 32% in favor of the proposed $5/night fees. Morley has received comments such as these:”To steal a phrase from John Long, the $5 fee “is the setting of the thin end of the chisel”…Don’t fall for this deception; $5/night is just a baseline that WILL be increased.””So will these fees cover the 2 or 3 GS-7 ($35,000 a year) employees that it will take to collect these fees and enforce the rules?”There will be a series of public meetings held in December in Joshua Tree, 29 Palms, and Yucca Valley with Park Superintendent Curt Sauer; visit www.nps.gov/jotr/news/meetings.html for more information. Morley urges all concerned climbers to attend and have their voices heard, and is collecting public commentary online at www.climbingjtree.com/resources/features/activist_issues/camp_fees.html, which is to be submitted to Superintendent Sauer.