NPS Congressional Subcommittee Testimony

Earlier this week, the Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing called "Visitation Trends in the National Park System - Part II'. In this press release, Subcommittee chairman Steve Pearce says "the message from the National Parks Service and the Tourism Working Groups is that we want National Park visitors to feel welcome, and that their presence is encouraged. If the National Park Service will see its visitors today as its assets for the future, instead of potential impacts to the resource, then the future of the parks will be more secure."

The line between too much and too few visitors seems so fragile. Wasn't it just a few years ago that the government was holding hearings asking whether we were "loving our parks to death"? At the time, they were even exploring ideas about how to reduce the number of visitors to the parks.

For those of you that didn't get to listen live to the hearing over internet audio, you can go to this website to read the prepared statements of the six witnesses called by the Subcommittee. There is a lot of testimony to read, but I found some interesting material there to consider. I happened to think it was a little weird that Chris Jarvi, the Associate Director of Partnerships, Interpretation and Education for the National Park Service referred twice to "our potential customers" in his testimony. I'm not sure I think of myself as a "customer" when I visit our nation's parks, do you? Fortunately, none of the other prepared statements made the "customers" reference.