Proposed budget cuts for national parks may lead to more privatization of visitor services
The National Park System is often called America’s best idea and, indeed, it has served as models for national park systems around the world. While Yellowstone was the first dedicated national park in 1872, the government entity that currently manages the national park system was not created until 1916. The National Park Service regularly stands at or near the top of federal agencies in public satisfaction surveys, but that standing does not necessarily translate into sufficient budgets. Various estimates place the costs of deferred maintenance at over $12 billion. In the coming budget cycle, the National Park Service could lose up to $400 for the 2018 fiscal year. This writer looks at the potential impact of such cuts as it relates to increasing the privatization of visitor services at national parks.
By Mary Catherine O’Connor
June 25, 2017