SAN FRANCISCO - Free parking at some parking lots in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area might end if a proposal is approved to begin charging parking fees at eight sites.
The National Park Service says bigger crowds are coming with bigger costs for more trash removal, beach cleanup, traffic control and janitor services.
"There's so much trash and the dumpster there is just overflowing all the time there now," said Lucy Sogard, a San Francisco resident.
National Park officials now are proposing a new parking fee of $3 an hour with a maximum of $10 per day.
"To me that sounds a little steep. Especially if you're someone who comes and walks your dog every day," said Jackie Ferris, San Francisco
Park officials say the fee would help with expenses and other needed repairs to roads, trails, and other structures. Park officials say it would help make up for revenue lost from vendors during the pandemic.
The proposed sites include parking lots at Baker Beach, China Beach, Lands End Lookout parking lot, Sutro Heights, and Stinson Beach and Rodeo Beach in Marin County.
"I feel like it makes it less of a public space if you have to pay three dollars an hour, because I think it's a place that people come for a quick visit," said Cathy Manshel of San Francisco.
"I think it's a great idea as long as they don't do it for residents. If they can do it for tourists that would be great," said Bart Schachter, another San Francisco resident.
Marin County Board of Supervisors President Dennis Rodoni says paid parking lots could create problems for nearby residents.
"We have a huge issue currently with overflow parking in the community," said Rodoni, "We just recently stiffened some of the parking laws around fire lanes and things because they weren't being adhered to very well."
Rondoni is asking the National Park Service to give more time for community input.
"The fire chief, and people in the community, the Marin County Sheriff's Office that really understand the issues if the parking is full or if it's empty and people try and park in the community."
There's also concern it could restrict access for people who can't afford the fees.
"It's just going to bring more privileged people here and bust out people who don't have the management to afford parking spaces," said Xavier Valley of San Francisco.
In a statement, the park service said in part, "The National Park Service is committed to ensuring underserved audiences have access to parks. We have worked hard to ensure the proposed fees are affordable and in keeping with costs for similar nearby amenities offered by other organizations."
The deadline for public comment is Sept. 26.
If the proposal is approved it would take effect sometime in 2022.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.