Barbara Sutteer: Fees draw fire from two public-land users

  • Barbara Sutteer

    Zig Jackson
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Barbara Sutteer, a career National Park Service staffer, has roots in both the Northern Ute and Cherokee tribes. She is former superintendent at Little Bighorn National Monument and now works as a tribal liaison officer for the Park Service in the agency's Denver office.

Barbara Sutteer: "I hear about (user fees) all the time from the tribes. Already tribal people feel excluded (from national parks). I can't remember anybody who was happy having to pay a fee to go in. And they don't like to have to pay a fee to access sacred sites.

"It's mostly in the national parks where it gets to be a heavy subject. (The parks) have all had some issues (with tribes) on gathering rights. Tribal members are also not in the same economic bracket as most of the users of national parks.

"They ask, "Why do we have to pay to go in there when it's our land?" and that's a good question. We didn't ask for a park to be there.

"But the other side is that if the land was not in park status, it would probably be developed and consumed. I would rather pay a small fee than have a mall go in."

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