Mary's Thoughts on the Parks

Mary Bomar is on a short Western swing this week, in part to reach out and in part to get the latest on storm damage suffered at Mount Rainier.
Bomar_copy_2 While in large part her comments yesterday to an audience of businessmen and women in Wyoming were vanilla, there were a few red flags that popped up, both in her address and in discussions with reporters.
For instance, she did tell members of the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation that "always the No. 1 goal in my mind is the mission of the National Park Service -- 'to preserve for future generations’ as well as to connect every American to the parks and ensure financial sustainability and protection of park resources.”
But Mary also mentioned that,
“We must reach our vast audiences and shift our methods to keep pace with the tastes, technology and changing demographics of the 21st century."

Now, the story in the Casper Star-Tribune did not go on to reveal exactly what Mary meant about that statement, but it's certainly something to watch.
To her credit, Mary, possibly inadvertently, seemed to overlook the boasting her predecessor, Fran Mainella, and former Interior Secretary Gale Norton made in the past about the success the Park Service was making in erasing its bloated maintenance backlog.
"
We must make inroads into the maintenance needs that come with the aging infrastructure of parks and make them vibrant, attractive, compelling places for the next century," Mary told the audience.
Of course, how she engineers those inroads is something else that must be watched, for in an interview with the Jackson Hole News and Guide Mary indicated a willingness to bring more partners into the fold when it comes to coping with the park system's financial woes.
Does that mean more commercialization of the park system, more privatization, more leasing of facilities to private concerns, such as that being done at Fort Hancock at the Gateway National Recreation Area in the New York-New Jersey area?
Those questions are not new, but have been lingering since Mary's name first surfaced as Fran's successor. Somehow they were ignored by the Senate parks subcommittee that gently quizzed her during its hearings into her appointment, and by the few members of the media who have been allowed access to Mary since she was confirmed.
Hopefully some concrete answers will be forthcoming soon.

Comments

We definitely MUST and need to get corporations (with lots of $$$) involved in the business of preserving our parks in public-private partnerships. If this means that we can have fully maintained trails with new bridges, more rangers which equals better resource protection), better visitor interpretation, better roads, campgrounds (the list goes on and on), then I can handle a sign next to the park welcome sign stating "This National Treasure is grateful to the following Corporations (whether it be Chevron, Shell, or Microsoft) for donations to preserve and protect it for present and future generations." The parks could also thank the corporate donors with a note in the park newsletters to let us, the public know that these are the corporations that deserve our business and investments. Speaking of which, when did the Sierra Club or NPCA ever donate ANY money to the parks?...seems they just want to run their mouths...(and make money only for themselves)....
THIS is what I'm talkin' about! Thank you J.M. Huber!! NJ Company Makes First Corporate Donation To Aid Save Ellis Island! Edison, NJ - The J.M. Huber Corporation was founded by Joseph Maria Huber, a German immigrant who arrived in New York in 1883 by steamship. Based in Edison, NJ it has grown to become one of largest family-owned companies in America, with annual sales topping $1 billion dollars. In recognition of its immigrant heritage and the significant role Ellis Island played in American history, the J.M. Huber Corporation has donated 72,000 pounds of their specialty wood product, PerformMAX 500TM, for the stabilization of the deteriorating buildings on Ellis Island. Without stabilization, these historic resources will be lost. The PerformMAX panels, if laid out end to end, would stretch over a mile in length. This is the first corporate product donation towards the Ellis Island stabilization efforts. Upon completion, the stabilization will extend the life of these historic structures for 10 to 15 years, allowing the National Park Service and their partner, Save Ellis Island!, to implement a viable plan for the buildings' restoration and beneficial reuse.
Jim, the National Parks have enough corporate logo strewn around the parks...just check out the trash bins around the parks. What's wrong having anonymous corporate donors and less fan fare in knowing who they really are...unless some CEO wants to glorify himself in front of a audience and become a braggard and say: see what my company did, and wow aren't we great! Donate and shut up! Are park forefathers, never intended to be spot lighted for their great works, efforts and money. Less big ego's in those days!!
It's funny how so many tree-huggers are down on corporations, unless it is the corporation known as the Sierra Club of course.... Do you eat anything bought in a store, made by those EVIL corporations, Snowbird? I don't really care if they wanna brag or not...as long as our parks are protected and funded! "Donate and shut-up"...hmmm...no need to get nasty here...why are you so angry?
Not angry dear Raul, I just have a lot of fire in my belly in saving a few things that you probably don't care about...like fur, feather and fin...not much left! If you dare to read E.O.Wilson book on "The Creation"! then you will know what mean. Perhaps, your more interested in reading something like "How To Get Rich Quick" or Donald Trumps new book on real estate quick rich schemes. Whatever, to each his own!
..."fur, feather and fin"...now ain't that so special! You need to read a few of John Stossel's books about how y'all are just a bunch of chicken littles with no science to back it up!
Again, dear Raul, your credentials don't seem to back up your curt spiel. I don't know what paper mill university you went to, but your comments are much to be desired with some concrete facts instead of waving this Phd stuff that you so proclaim to have.