National Parks

I recently posted concerning the raising of prices at Zion National Park.

Click on the link above to read more about costs of maintenance and price raising nation-wide.

Here are my thoughts:

I work for a non-profit environmental group that purchases land and preserves it. We have several preserves that are free and open to the public and have fine facilities and upkeep. We still have problems, but I think the Park Service should approach things a little more like a non-profit.
Perhaps they should develop a philanthropy department. Through this department donations from wealthy individuals and corporations could help with the costs of upkeep on our national parks. While we would never allow things like "Office Max Arch" or "Pepsi Presents: The Grand Canyon," there could be tasteful memorials with bricks or boards engraved with donors' names.
They should definitely develop a stronger volunteer base. There are hundreds and thousands of people out there that would love to rebuild a trail or spend a week patrolling the back country for nothing more than a National Parks pass and maybe a meal or two. If the Park Service could build a strong corp of volunteers with experience and love of our parks, they could accomplish much of the maintenance that has been waiting on the backburner for many years for a fraction of the cost. They could also free up full-time employees to work on bigger jobs.
While I'm sure the Park Service already has these things, perhaps stepping up volunteer and philanthropy programs could help get the much-need cash-flow into the parks without raising the costs to the point that many Americans will not be able to afford getting in.

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