Is the National Park System primed for decline? One of the world’s most respected international periodicals thinks so. The Economist blames shifting public interests and anti-development environmentalists for falling attendance and warns that public support for national parks may quickly erode.
Plight of the Parks
It was just about a year ago that I wrote about the invasion of "GPS Rangers" into the national parks. Back then I wasn't so keen on this hand-held electronic tour gizmo, but there does seem to be a hidden blessing in it.
That Booming You Hear in the Skies Over Yellowstone National Park? It Soon Could be the Sound of Artillery
Ahh, the sounds of winter in Yellowstone National Park. The raspy rustle in the wind of dried leaves that forgot to fall from aspens. The trickling of a creek beneath its sheath of ice. The eruption of a geyser, the gurgling of mudpots. The explosion of a howitzer round as it smacks into a mountainside.
With the National Park Service's centennial eight years off, it's not too early to take the measure of both the service and the National Park System it manages. Has the time arrived to overhaul and strengthen this venerable agency?National Park Centennial Commission.pdf
The National Park Service likes to promote that visitors give the National Park System a 96 percent approval rating. That's pretty lofty, but is it accurate?
Our national parks are places of incredible beauty and rich history. But they also are under siege. Across the National Park System, the landscape is being invaded by non-native species that are not just out of place, when you consider what should be growing, but in some cases are actually driving out the natives.
How far will the National Rifle Association go to overthrow gun control measures? Apparently infiltrating groups who favor gun control isn't out of the question. Among the groups infiltrated? Apparently the National Parks Conservation Association.
National Park Service and US Border Patrol to Share a New Operations Center at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area
The National Park Service and the U.S. Border Patrol have agreed to jointly fund and occupy a new 30,000 square-foot operations center at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area. Both agencies stand to gain a great deal. The new arrangement will not only consolidate and upgrade scattered facilities, but also foster interagency cooperation in an area of the U.S.-Mexican border that is difficult to manage and patrol.
While the National Park Service might be an apolitical agency, it's nothing if not a hot property in the political world. So is it any surprise that a pro-business, anti-environment administration in the White House would have the final say over snowmobiling in the world's first and best-known national park?
Why Stop At Golden Gate National Recreation Area? What Other NRAs, Monuments, Etc., Should Be Renamed?
What's in a name? That's a good question in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's unsolicited bid to turn Golden Gate National Recreation Area into a "national park."