Reader Participation Day: How Should The Next President Of The United States Help The National Parks?

Come November, we get to choose the next president of the United States. President Obama might get a second term, or Mitt Romney might get his first. Whoever wins, how do you think the next president of these United States can best help the National Park System?

More funding is always nice to ask for, but Congress controls the purse strings, so even if the next president proposes to double the National Park Service's budget, Congress likely won't let that happen.

But there are things the president can do by executive order, or simply through promotion, or, barring passage of H.R. 4089, through the stroke of his pen with the backing of the Antiquities Act.

With those ground rules, what would you like to see the winner of November's election do to help the National Park System?


Mitt wants to eliminate the Antiquities Act. But then again, given his flip-flopping record, he might declare all of Colorado a national monument.

Obama has been a terrible disappointment.

So either way, the parks had better get ready for four more years of survival mode.

Some pretty aggressive use of the Antiquities Act to create new National Monuments, as well as some new federal Wilderness designations.

And, of course, much better financial support for our parks.

I think our next president needs to make a better case that National Parks can be drivers of economic growth and job creation. Budgets that make cuts to the National Park Service should rightly be called job-killers.

Some pretty aggressive use of the Antiquities Act to create new National Monuments, as well as some new federal Wilderness designations.
Wilderness designations have to go through Congress first. That could get interesting especially with a Congress that may or may not be hostile to such designations.

As for use of the Antiquities Act, Obama did recently declare Fort Ord as a national monument, although it's still under BLM jurisdiction. I know this is primarily an NPS focused site, but many of our nation's protected lands are under different jurisdictions including the BLM and Forest Service.

Cutting waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back on the war expenditures which drive the deficit would alone enable more than ample funding for the NPS.

Visit them instead of vacationing in playgrounds of the rich.

Mitt wants to eliminate the Antiquities Act.

Really? Can you identified where and when he said that?

Lee, you crack me up.

"...he might declare all of Colorado a national monument."

Would that be the parting gift for then-outgoing Secretary Salazar? Seems appropriate.

Visit them instead of vacationing in playgrounds of the rich.

Last thing I want is a President in the park when I am there.

There is no official stand on public lands or energy policies to be found in Romney's campaign website. In other places, Romney seems to sidestep any direct questions about public lands. But one Utah state representative, Mike Noel, reported at a GOP fundraiser that Romney as assured him that the "Antiquities Act has probably run its course and needs to be re-examined."

One of his campaign spokespersons said this about extractive use of public lands:

"Asked whether any place would be off limits for oil drilling, campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said, “Governor Romney will permit drilling wherever it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns.”

In an interview with the Reno Gazette, Romney said:

I don’t know the reason that the federal government owns such a large share of Nevada. And when I was in Utah at the Olympics there I heard a similar refrain there. What they were concerned about was that the government would step in and say, “We’re taking this” — which by the way has extraordinary coal reserves — “and we’re not going to let you develop these coal reserves.” I mean, it drove the people nuts. Unless there’s a valid, and legitimate, and compelling governmental purpose, I don’t know why the government owns so much of this land.

So I haven’t studied it, what the purpose is of the land, so I don’t want to say, “Oh, I’m about to hand it over.” But where government ownership of land is designed to satisfy, let’s say, the most extreme environmentalists, from keeping a population from developing their coal, their gold, their other resources for the benefit of the state, I would find that to be unacceptable.

In other words, you made it up. He has never advocated the elimination of the antiquities act.

I think money should be taken out of school budget. Everything (perhaps except math) a student could learn in the National Parks!

Well said! The President and his family should have made it their vacation spot. Would have sparked a lot of interest in our national treasures!

Okay, let's try this. PEER recently published a very interesting article on Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts. Look it up.

But I have a feeling Anon wouldn't believe anything even if he heard it directly from Mitt's mouth.

Keep smiling, everyone.

Sorry the link doesn't work because its pointing to your gmail box. But, I suspect that it too will fail to show that Romney wants to eliminate the Antiquities Act.

If Romney really thinks resources should be developed to benefit the State instead of benefitting only free market privateers that bite the hand of the government that feeds them (through government contracts, subsidized leases of public land, patent protection, ad infinitum) then I might consider voting for him. But of course I'm being facetious.

To respond to the original question, the POTUS ought to transfer all national monuments to NPS jurisdiction via executive order a la that great American hero FDR.

One thing they could do is support sunsetting of FLREA law. Next, they could ensure that there is some housecleaning at the NPS. A culture change is needed to reign in this group of self policing bureaucrats who manipulate data to serve their own purposes. I support an oversight function of the NPS which is long overdue given their abuses in the Ranger Danno, Indian Trader and Smokies Fee scandals. It is a shame that America's treasures are in the hands of such questionable leadership.

Lee didn't include a link.

Actually he did but his post has since been altered. If this is what he was linking to, then I am correct. It provides no evidence that Romney wants to eliminate the Antiquities Act. Lee just made that up.