I was unhappy to see the new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s idea for addressing national park funding needs in the Beacon story “Zinke Says Privatizing Campsites Could Benefit National Parks.” Instead of trying to privatize more national park facilities and services, he should be supporting a better budget than one that cuts 7 percent of the budgets for Glacier, Yellowstone and many other parks around the country. Most campgrounds are run by volunteers and those that make sense to be operated by concessioners already are. To be profitable, private operators would likely have to charge more and rangers would be cut out of the picture, and that’s not consistent with national parks that belong to all Americans. If Secretary Zinke wants to address national park infrastructure, then in addition to supporting a better budget, he should be pushing the Montana delegation and other members of Congress to support and pass the National Park Service Legacy Act. The bill addresses the national parks maintenance backlog over the next 30 years.
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