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Scarlett: Parks Are Better Off Than a Decade Ago


    Here's a quote that packs as much whomp! in the morning as a double espresso mocha at Starbucks:
    "Our parks are in better shape than they were 10 years ago."
    Now, if you've watched the national park system for the past ten years, and more specifically the past four or five, you're naturally going to question that statement. It came from the lips of Lynn Scarlett, the Interior Department's deputy secretary whose past as president of the Reason Foundation indicates that she probably wouldn't mind turning parks over to private interests.
    The quote was dropped near the top of an Associated Press story that examines the impacts of funding woes in the park system. Its placement ensures that right after you read the quote, you're treated to a litany of problems the parks are facing, such as too few rangers across the system, risks to cultural and natural resources as a result of inadequate budgets, and delayed maintenance work and the problems that generates.
    You're then treated to another gem, this one from NPS Director Fran Mainella, who in effect says park managers are overstating their budget woes and are trotting out wish lists of what they'd like to see done, rather than things that must be done.
    Isn't it nice to see these ladies drop into defensive mode after all the publicity about what's ailing the national park system? It's what we've come to expect from the Bush administration: admit no failures or mistakes and stay on topic with your perceived truth.

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