Politicians, and that includes presidents, often say things they shouldn’t say. Recently Barack Obama propose that there be seven new national park it sounds like that would be a good thing the director of Property and Environmental Research Centresays it is not a good thing. He said President Obama’s proposal for seven new national parks is “premature.”
Currently, existing national parks are in a poor state, and in desperate need of maintenance.
Reed Watson, executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), and Scott Wilson, a research assistant at PERC Road wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, raising an alert about what is going on in our national parks. They wrote, “Throughout the national park system, an enormous backlog of deferred maintenance is eroding the visitor experience and threatening the very resources that the National Park Service was created to protect.”
What does this mean about what Barack Obama said? Did he get poor advice, or was he shooting from the hip? And why now?
According to a recent report, national parks have deferred maintenance costed at $11.5 billion, including $5.6 billion for park roads, $1.8 billion for buildings, nearly $474 million for trails, $255 million for waste-water systems, and $62 million for campgrounds. Apparently, $700 million a year is needed just to prevent the deferred maintenance from rising above the $11.5 billion backlog.
That is a lot of money.
The report, dated December, 2014, shows there are major problems in our National Park system. It gives a hollow ring to the president’s insistence that the program should be effectively managed, even though the budget is thinner. If seven new parks were added now, maintenance would increase by Around 120,000 acres. The previous large National Park expansion came when President Jimmy Carter signed the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978.
The proposed new parks include Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico, Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument in Nevada. None of these have been funded by Congress at the present time.
The proposed bill that would establish these new parks also expands nine national park sites and designates 245,000 acres of new wilderness land, according to a story bye CNN. The park service is opposed to at the present time with their depleted budgets.
Tom Colburn (R-OK) said, “Our parks are falling apart. We should preserve what we’ve already invested in.”
The Obama administration has yet to comment on Coburn’s remarks.