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Reader Participation Day: Should Economics Be Considered When Adding Units To The National Park System?


When Fort Monroe National Monument and Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park were added to the National Park System recently, officials touted their economic benefits. Which has the Traveler wondering: Should economics be a factor when considering the merits of potential units of the park system?

While it's certainly a plus if a new unit can contribute to the surrounding area's economy, shouldn't the emphasis on considering new units be on whether they are truly culturally or historically significant to the country, or have outstanding natural resources?

Do you think economics should be stripped from the aspects under consideration when future sites are proposed to the park system?


Ecominics should always be a consideration.  And I said "a" not "the".  But if the economics are so favorable to the local economy, then it would behoove the "locals" to  create the park like environment.  The Park Service's (federal) resources shouldn't be used just to help a local group.
On the other hand if a resource is important but doesn't provide an economic incentive for locals to preserve then it might be appropriate for Park Service consideration.  But again, economics must be considered.  Is that resource so valuable that the economic cost is justified.  Of course that is a value judgment about which many of us will disagree but the cost must be a consideration for any of these assets.

Look around and see what not considering economics has brought us to the brink of.   Many cases seem like an example of getting a loan to go to the Candy Store.  Ah, to live in the Environment Bubble.  In the 60's I dreamed of such a bubble but have since embraced reality after some hard lessons.  How glorious it would be to stay in the womb.  Some politicians have discovered that angle.  

Of course economics should be considered including the culture change from actually working with/in the environment to food/beverage, sheet flipper (no offense intended) opportunities with the majority of jobs going to short term contract international workers.  Of course I'm thinking of jobs and US economics. 

"The environment bubble"?

The world you live in, you mean. The "reality" you've embraced includes the mining that reduces mountains to toxic rubble in West Virginia, and old growth forests reduced to stubble elsewhere, and black snow on the ground next to factory smokestacks.

I too had some dreams in the 60's. I still have those dreams, but am not 'in the womb'. I've paid my dues in the world out there. I even thought I was a Republican for a while, but luckily rediscovered my conscience some time ago.

Economy is 'A' consideration for the national parks. It is a perversion of everything in their history to make it 'THE' consideration, by putting them on a blind spread sheet that ignores all of the intangibles. The parks were created precisely to preserve those intangibles, so they aren't consumed by 'economy'. 

I believe if you do a biopsy on the extreme left and the extreme right in a blind test you'd find the same genetic makeup.  Anybody in the middle gets drowned out but there are elections that reflect something good occasionally for the majority in the middle.  The vocal fringe and the much more dangerous, deceptive, do it in the darkness seeking elements on both ends  is what I am concerned with.  It would be very good if we could all discover who they are. If any one of the factions that are responsible for our treasures has to engage in fraud, deception or lies to get what they want, I don't care which side, they should be discounted and eliminated from the process.  I now remember you, Rick from an earlier conversation:).  We should meet in the middle and have that beer:).  Take care. 

Yes, I agree that economics should be a consideration. We have spent so much money so foolishly in the past leaving us with trillion dollar deficits. It is time for some reality checks.

Economics are often a good way to convince skeptical locals that a park is a good idea. So they should be considered for that reason. But, the park needs to stand alone in value even without economics considered - bringing jobs to an area is not a reason to create a park, but is an added benefit.

How much more deferred maintenance of buildings and structures can the NPS assume just to satisfy pork belly projects?  The new areas NPS gathers into its fold cost money to maintain.  Will NPS ever recieve a budget to continue adding parks without doing other parks dirty.

Anon 10:26:

"Will NPS ever receive a budget to continue adding parks without doing other parks dirty."


The answer to your question that came to my mind is that it will never happen as long as NPS has the attitude that Anon 3:05 expressed.   Gods above the realities of today, they aren't, although many would disagree. 

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