For the past nine or ten months I've been blogging on an almost daily basis about the problems confronting the national park system. I've touched on the funding woes, air quality woes, efforts to privatize the parks, and efforts to rewrite the National Park Service's mission when it comes to protecting the national park system.
Well, perhaps it's because the summer travel season is finally here, but it looks like the folks who run the so-called "mainstream media" have finally decided it's time to take a look at the Park Service and the job it's doing. And that's a good thing (although a bit overdue), because the plight of the parks needs all the exposure it can get.
Earlier this month I posted a piece about Vanity Fair's look at the effort the Interior Department's Paul Hoffman made to redirect the Park Service's mission. Now, The Associated Press has released a package of stories examining the national park system.
Here are some quick stats from the AP's package:
* Nearly one-third of Americans strongly favor higher entrance fees at the parks if the money is used to improve roads and other maintenance work, while 35 percent somewhat favor higher fees.
* Nearly four in ten who responded to an AP poll of 1,001 adults strongly oppose increased development in the parks, things such as grooming snowmobile trails and erecting cell phone towers, and another 20 percent somewhat oppose those developments.
* Forty-three percent of those surveyed strongly oppose, and 22 percent somewhat oppose, increasing development on national park boundaries, such as subdivisions and hotels.
Pretty interesting stats, don't you think? Here's the complete rundown on the poll.
Now, as to the AP stories, which take a look at development and degradation in the national parks, you can find some of them here, here, here, and here. Take the time to read them. Collectively, I think they provide a pretty good snapshot of the threats that are conspiring against the national parks.