National Park Fee Increases, Wireless Mobile Products, Emergency Radios
Factors to Consider with Wireless Mobile Products - The wireless service providers, such as Sprint PCS, Cingular/ATT, and Verizon, only provide a 30-day unconditional warranty during which the a mobile wireless product (phone or broadband data device) can be repaired, replaced, or returned.
Mobile product users wanting warranty coverage for these personal communications devices after 30 days, should be prepared to:
Contact the manufacturer to determine what limited warranty coverage is available for your mobile phone or data card product, or
Pay an additional monthly repair/replacement coverage fee to your wireless service provider for each phone.
Note: It’s interesting that a $500 computer and computer peripheral equipment costing $50 - $200 come with a one-year (and sometimes, unlimited) warranty for no-cost repair or replacement, but a wireless mobile phone or broadband data product costing $250 - $600 comes with a 30-day warranty from the mobile service provider for no-cost repair or replacement.
After 30 days, you are under a limited warranty (generally one year) from the manufacturer, which usually may requires a $50 minimum charge for replacement during the coverage period.
Emergency Radios - Don’t leave home without one. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors and reports weather and environmental conditions on a 24-hour basis. NOAA maintains a network of 7 NOAA weather channels to provide warning of weather-related events (hurricanes, high winds, tornadoes, blizzards, etc.) and environmental events (flooding, fires, chemical spills, etc).
We recommend keeping a working emergency radio that has the 7 NOAA weather channels in your home and RV at all times. Additional emergency radio options to look for include the capability to run on multiple power sources, such as regular batteries, rechargeable batteries, a DC converter to plug into 12-volt DC, an AC/DC converter to run on 120-volt AC, and a hand crank to generate power.
Note: Emergency radios come in two types. The first has AM/FM and short-wave bands for $30 and up, and the second has AM/FM and the 7 NOAA weather channels for about $40 and up.
Note: We strongly recommend you select an emergency radio that has the 7 NOAA weather channels. Many of the emergency radios come with AM/FM bands and short-wave bands.
Fees Increase at National Parks (May '07) - The Associated Press and the New York Times reported in early May 2007 that “entrance fees are scheduled to rise at national parks over the next three summers, though a public outcry over some of the increases could cause the government to reconsider.” A few increases have already taken effect.
The National Park Service plans to phase in higher rates for park passes and vehicle fees at 131 of the 390 parks, monuments and other areas it manages. In addition, higher entrance fees are set for 11 parks this summer, including Muir Woods in California; Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Mesa Verde, in Colorado; Fort McHenry in Maryland; Martin Van Buren in New York; Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains, in Texas; Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks and Zion, in Utah; and Colonial in Virginia. For 2008, fee increases are planned for 84 other parks. In 2009, fees would rise at 36 additional parks.
Under the new fee structure, annual park passes will generally range from $10 to $40. Fees per person would range from about $5 to $12; per vehicle, they would be about $10 to $25.
A $50 fee for an annual pass has already taken effect at Grand Canyon and Zion and for a combined pass into Grand Teton and Yellowstone.