Will Bear Costume Get Presidential Candidates Talking About National Parks?
What will it take for those running for the White House to talk about the important issues surrounding our National Parks? If you seen some of the early debates, you'll know, they've talked about nearly everything else under the sun so far, but nothing about the parks yet. Wouldn't it help you pick a candidate if you knew their opinion of the snowmobile issue in Yellowstone? What would Rudi Giuliani say about the Katmai bear hunt? Is Barack Obama aware of the ORV issue in Big Cypress? Does Clinton care that Glacier's glaciers will soon be gone? Will Romney pledge to eliminate the National Parks maintenance backlog?
Let's talk about a candidate that's got something to say. Since it is Halloween, it almost seems appropriate that it's a person dressed up in a bear costume. The National Parks Conservation Association has just rolled out a new campaign. They've got a bear named Teddy Mather running for President. Weighed against the very serious nature of the Democrat and Republican campaigns, Teddy's campaign seems very light hearted and almost silly. After all, a guy in an goofy over-sized bear outfit hardly implies "great leader". But I don't think that's the point. The point, I believe, is to get people talking, more specifically, to get the presidential candidates talking about the parks.
And he's right, let's get talking. I'm glad we already know how Fred Thompson feels about oil drilling in the Everglades -- is it any wonder he's been dropping in the polls? During the 2000 presidential race, we had Al Gore climbing Mt Rainier, and we even had George Bush promising to eliminate the NPS maintenance backlog (back when it as only $4.9 Billion). Considering that the national parks are typically politically "safe", I'm surprised we haven't heard much yet. When the race leaves Iowa and New Hampshire (the two states combined have 3 park units totaling just 3078 acres), perhaps we'll hear more about the serious topics surrounding our parklands. Time is running out, who will be the first to schedule a photo op at the Grand Canyon?
Teddy Mather Promo