Is the National Park System in danger of turning into a catchall system? Should a site dedicated to the nuclear arms race, another to union organizers, and another to First Ladies really fall under an agency that started out preserving spectacular vistas and landscapes, that showcases Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon?
Reader Participation Day
How much should the National Park Service rely on volunteers? That's a difficult question, as there are teachers, retirees, and others with valuable knowledge and skills that the parks could benefit from, particularly as the agency struggles to make ends meet. But does Apple, or JP Morgan, or any Fortune 500 company rely as much on volunteers for day-to-day operations as does the Park Service?
Imagine, for a moment, that you're in charge of setting fees for the National Park System. What would you charge for, and how much would you charge? Or would you charge anything at all?
In this age of informational instant gratification, how has your national park experience changed? For Millennials, who grew up with smartphones, texting, and Facebook, not so much. For Baby Boomers, who learned to read with actual newspapers, books, and magazines in their hands, whose phones were attached to the wall by a cord, a great deal. Is that change for the good, or the bad?
Horses have a long, long history in America. They came to the New World with the Spaniards, and have carried riders ever since. In many national parks horses are icons, seen as both honorable steeds that carry mounted rangers and as work horses that carry both visitors and gear. But they also have impacts on the landscape, and there have been calls to ban them from the parks. But should they be banned?
What maintenance needs have you seen in your travels about the National Park System? Let's build a list on what needs fixing out there.
Readers Participation Day. The National Park Service has many standards in its interactions with visitors. Have you seen deviations from them? Do they bother you?
If you were given a blank piece of paper, and asked to design a national park, what would you consider to be indispensable?
It's winter, the days for much of the country are more conducive to sitting inside than heading outdoors. So you're spending some time planning your summer vacation in the National Park System. How do you decide where to go?
Is there an overrated unit of the National Park System, one that doesn't quite meet your criteria for being among the properties carrying the tag of national park?