Raising park fees not the answer

The National Park Service announced a proposal to dramatically increase entrance fees at some of our most popular national parks to facilitate maintenance that has been long neglected. While there is no doubt the backlog of maintenance is an urgent issue, increasing fees will probably be counterproductive, and make it much harder for many to visit.

 It is truly sad our leaders in Congress are unwilling to provide funding to maintain and preserve our national treasures for the enjoyment of all. South Dakota relies heavily on tourism, and it would seem to be an issue our Congressional delegation should openly support.

 I urge everyone to call or write Sens. Thune and Rounds and Rep. Noem to get them to restore adequate funding for all our national parks, instead of working to reduce taxes for the wealthiest among us.

John Griffith

Spearfish

Those at the top abuse our trust

With all that's going on in the upper echelons of our government being cynical seems a lot saner than showing blind allegiance at ceremonies politically co-opted to serve an agenda other than actual patriotism. I can’t think of many that do more to subvert my trust in this country's longstanding tenets of equality and justice than this present administration. I'm ashamed that we as a country are accepting the notion that a double standard is OK, that chasing perfection is a lost cause.

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George Will used the term "basket of gullibles" to describe the way Trump sees his shrinking base. I think gullible (easily deceived or cheated) applies to much more than just Donald's base. What about all those who believe that the end justifies the means — aren't they deceived? Aren't they themselves cheated? Who really doesn't care that many leaders of our nation as well as many minders of our Christian flocks are living the high life while the "gullible" trudge the long road of patriotism and faith.

If we are expected to stand up for God and country, then give us reasonable realism, please. We aren't spoiled at the bottom or the middle — but at the top.

Dave Freytag

Rapid City

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