Saturday Morning Ramblings
Politicians obviously don't let little facts get in the way of their tongues.
Evidence of that came yesterday in California where First Lady Laura Bush, honorary chairwoman of the National Park Foundation, called Representative Richard Pombo "an enthusiastic steward of our country's natural resources." Never mind that he wants to dismantle the Endangered Species Act, once suggested that some national parks be sold off, and just recently managed to sneak language into House legislation to allow motorized access to a beach-front section of Redwood National and State Parks.
Note to editors: Before you send that editorial to press, be sure you read it closely. Pass that note on to the editors at the Baltimore Sun, who today editorialized quite nicely about the deteriorating state of the national park system. The only problem was when they addressed the Park Service's annual operating shortfall. While the National Parks Conservation Association has tabbed that number at $800 million, the Sun dropped a few zeros, pegging the shortfall at "more than $800,000 this year." Still, the editorial hit all the high points about why our national park system is in such peril these days.
The Ledger of Lakeland, Florida, got the shortfall number correct in its own "parks are imperiled" editorial in today's editions. In discussing the troubling times across the park system, and the Park Service's approaching centennial in 2016, the newspaper notes that, "The only way to make sure 2016 will be an occasion for national celebration and not hand-wringing is to start right now taking the steps necessary to keep our national parks from perishing of neglect and abuse."
Dirk seems to be taking that issue seriously. I understand the Interior secretary himself has been holding closed-door meetings with NPCA officials to help plan the celebration. Hopefully the growing "to-do" list contains more than a note to order cake and candles.
Finally, in talking with a friend in the conservation business, I asked why not all conservation groups are concerned about the park system, focusing their efforts instead on wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, rivers, and simply wildlife. The answer surprised me: Most people think national parks are well taken care of, I was told.
Do you agree?