Visitors sue National Park Service over policy prohibiting cash payments

Three visitors sued the National Park Service (NPS) over their policy of prohibiting cash payments at various locations around the country.

Elizabeth Dasburg from Georgia, Esther van der Werf of California and Toby Stover of New York filed a lawsuit in early March, alleging the park service’s cashless policy is violating the federal law.

The trio said they were not able to use cash when visiting monuments, national parks and other locations in the U.S. Since U.S. currency is “legal tender for all public charges,” NPS’s policy of refusing it at some locations is infringing on federal law, the lawsuit filed on March 6 alleges.

NPS’s “violation” cannot be “overlooked,” the suit argues, although the plaintiffs are not asking the court “to prohibit NPS from accepting credit cards, debit cards, or digital payment methods (such as ApplePay) should visitors to NPS sites prefer to use them.”

The plaintiffs’ cash payments were rejected in Georgia, Arizona and New York.

Van der Werf was allegedly barred entry at three different locations in Arizona run by the federal agency. Stover was not able to tour New York’s Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site after attempting to use $10 in cash for the tour.

NPS does not accept cash payments at 29 locations, according to the lawsuit.

The cashless policy has been in effect since 2019 for park passes in Arizona. Similar adjustments were set to come this year to locations in Montana, Colorado and California. NPS has argued the shift is lessening wait times and making it easier to count the amount charged for each visitor.

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