Save Our Parks! How to Keep National Parks Open During a Government Shutdown
As part of the government shutdown that started October 1, the National Parks Service has closed all U.S. national parks and monuments. Would-be visitors will be denied entry to Yosemite and Yellowstone and acres and acres of national park lands until the government resumes business. Economics professor Holly Fretwell suggests an alternative that would have enabled parks to stay open despite the government shutdown.
She recommends leasing our national parks to entrepreneurs who would be responsible for managing the maintenance, campgrounds, trails, and infrastructure in the parks. The private management company would have to adhere to strict parameters, maintain low admission fees, and would pay the federal government for the right to lease the management of the parks. Under such a system, our national parks would generate income for the government instead of costing the government money to run. If this system were already in place, the parks could have stayed open during the shutdown.
You may feel skeptical about a private business’s ability to manage and maintain the beauty of our national parks, but private businesses currently manage thousands of public recreation areas and campgrounds and nearly half of all Forest Service campgrounds. Most campers who use these public lands don’t even realize they are managed by private companies. Private management for our national parks would make them accessible to visitors even during the government shutdown, and could make our parks revenue generators for the government.
Here’s the link to the case study, which the video is based on.
And here is another case study by Holly Fretwell on funding parks:
Other links you could consider using are below:
Taking State Parks Off the State’s Books [report]: PERC’s Leonard Gilroy argues that states should explore the opportunity to let private operators run the technical operations of state parks while paying the state for the right to do so
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea [report]: PERC’s Brian Yablonski offers market-based solutions to preservation and functioning of our national park system
Testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on “Funding the National Park System for the Next Century,” July 25, 2013 [article]: A host of ideas, presented to the U.S. Senate on how to effectively fund and operate existing national parks