Byline: Ron Kelly
I am in total agreement with the city of Newport Beach about the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s new $4.32-per-visit user fee for anyone setting foot inside the boundaries of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. There is no reason for it (considering that the access is a city-maintained street, not some remote dirt road maintained by the state) and there is no fair way to collect this fee from every kayaker, rower, paddleboard rider, jogger, bird-watcher or hiker who might happen by.
The way the fee was “announced” — by the sudden appearance of signs along the Back Bay, warning that this fee payment is required — strikes me as arrogant, authoritarian and just plain evil.
I think our mayor, Keith Curry, had it right when he called the DFW’s attempt to assess this fee a “misguided effort” and “a pretty dumb idea.”