Normally I try to stay away from political issues, but I must say that I really don’t understand the thinking of our elected officials of either party.

Originally stated by writer and historian, Wallace Stegner, and it bears repeating: National Parks are “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”

Overwhelmingly, Americans of every political party support our National Parks and all legislation that supports them. Attendance at our National Parks hits record numbers every year and draws tourists from around the world. If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, then note that countries around the world from nearby Canada to across the globe in places like Croatia and China are investing time, money and land to support conservation in their homelands.

Meanwhile Washington DC has sat on their hands for years concerning our National Parks. During the Obama administration the park backlog maintenance budget grew from $9b to over $12b. While we applauded the new national monuments he created, Obama didn’t set aside funds to support what we already had, much less the new land he added. Considering he added somewhere around $7 trillion in new debt you would have thought he could have squeezed out a few more billion here and there for the National Park Service.

Now the Trump administration seemingly is more interested in allowing big business to loot and profit from our Park land than to support the National Park Service. While they are raising entry fees, eliminating free days, and instituting reservation systems to discourage visitors, they cut the actual funding that is needed to support and invest in our National Parks.

It would be nice if our politicians would listen to their constituents for once and support the National Park Service. Based on their track record, I am not going to hold my breath though. I suppose it is obvious that big money special interests are what drives policy, not what Joe Voter finds important.

Rant over. rk

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