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HomeNewsThree Americans Slam National Park Service With Lawsuit Over Its Cashless Policy 

Three Americans Slam National Park Service With Lawsuit Over Its Cashless Policy 

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These three Americans have had enough! They want to be able to enter any park in the U.S. and pay cash to access them. 

Sadly, the National Park Service has refused to accept cash payments in exchange for entry into parks across the U.S. To remedy that, the three Americans filed the lawsuit earlier this month in federal court in Washington, D.C.. 

Their suit claims that the NPS violates federal law by not allowing guests to pay cash for entry. The lawsuit says the NPS police violate a law that states “coi” s and currency … are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues” by “not accepting cash.

The lawsuit states, “Thus, NPS’ refusal to accept U.S. Currency tendered for entrance fees constitutes a clear violation of federal law.” 

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The three Americans bringing the lawsuit are Esther van der Werf of Ojai, California, Toby Stover of High Falls, New York, and Elizabeth Dasburg of Darien, Georgia.

According to the trio, 29 places throughout the country do not accept cash as payment for entry. These include parks like Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tonto National Monument, the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site, and the Fort Pulaski National Historic Site. 

Fort Pulaski emailed Dasburg to tell her that she would need to change her cash into something else, like a gift card, to access the area. Stover and Van der Werf also had similar experiences, with NPS denying their entries because they did not pay digitally.

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The NPS stopped accepting cash in May 2023. According to Justin Unger, National Park Service associate director for Business Services, this was done because, in recent years, the U.S. Treasury created policies to reduce the amount of cash and checks handled across the federal government. 

Many banks also stopped partnering with the Treasury in that process. “The number of formal banks with relationships with the Treasury Department, where we could actually take cash, has really dried up, especially in more rural or remote areas,” he said.

That and the closure of many brick-and-mortar banks forced park staff to take the cash even further to deposit. This costs both time and money. 

Unger also said that the amount of cash flowing into the parks are actually getting has been considerably reduced. Unger said that by going cashless, the agency would be better able to do its job.

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“We’re not paying for armored car service. We don’t have to pay for an employee to be able to shuttle cash back and forth or to have our law enforcement officers doing that,” he said. “Instead, they get to focus on doing law enforcement, providing emergency services.”

Those behind the lawsuit accept that going cashless had benefits for the park service. However, they say that “NPS’s violation of federal law cannot be overlooked in favor of any purported benefit NPS Cashless could hope to achieve.”

The lawsuit is asking that the park service restore cash options for visitors. Especially because millions of Americans do not have access to bank accounts.

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Their lawyer, Ray Flores, told USA TODAY that his clients “are merely asserting their right to pay with American money to enter some of America’s National Parks.”

He said, “They seek no monetary award,” adding that “Children’s Health Defense is financially backing the lawsuit.”

The National Park Service’s response to the lawsuit is due May 16.

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