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Old 08-28-2016, 03:33 PM   #1
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National Park Service Corporate Sponsorship

Please read this article and weigh in:
National Park Service Fund-raising Tactics Rankle Advocates - RV Life

On the one hand, if Congress won't give them the money, and we users won't pay more fees - then what other source do they have?
Is it better to let the parks deteriorate? Or take sponsorships?
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Old 08-28-2016, 03:53 PM   #2
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I'm against it. I head to the outdoors for a lot of reasons, as I'm sure we all do, one of mine is to not be bombarded by advertising.

The parks have been saying my entire life that they need more money. Fees have increased dramatically in the last 30 years, outpacing inflation by my calculations.

If they could make it 10 years ago, they can certainly make it today. When I was a kid in California, I could get a prime ocean front camping spot for 5 dollars, or less, per night. That same spot, if you are lucky enough to reserve it in time is now 50 dollars when all taxes, fees, surcharges are included. 'our' national parks were never intended to be a profit center for the government. They will make due just fine, in my estimation. It's all the rage for government agencies that rely on public funding to jack up our rates whenever the economy appears to be decent. Everyone wants a bigger cut. Just my 2 cents. They should tie their fees to an inflation adjusted index, and let that mandate what we pay. Inflation has been less than 1%, each year for the last 3 years. I bet where you camp, you are seeing fees increase triple that level, on average.

If they want more revenue, they should build more parks, instead of trying to corporatize our national treasures.

All that said - this is a big problem - "Lawmakers slashed the NPS budget by 8% between 2005 and 2014." I don't get how our fees keep going up, yet their budget shrinks? Sounds like fraud doesn't it?
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansai View Post
I'm against it. I head to the outdoors for a lot of reasons, as I'm sure we all do, one of mine is to not be bombarded by advertising. (snip)

The parks have been saying my entire life that they need more money. Fees have increased dramatically in the last 30 years, outpacing inflation by my calculations.

(snip)
If they want more revenue, they should build more parks, instead of trying to corporatize our national treasures.

All that said - this is a big problem - "Lawmakers slashed the NPS budget by 8% between 2005 and 2014." I don't get how our fees keep going up, yet their budget shrinks? Sounds like fraud doesn't it?
I am not going to try to defend the NPS's budgetary management. I believe they could certainly manage better and more efficiently. However, the things you've posted (that I've bolded) are not a solution.

Yes, the parks have always been saying that they need more money, and yes their fees have increased dramatically during that time. But building more parks is not the answer, and in fact, it is the very problem. Congress, but especially Presidents like to bolster their legacy by creating additional parks and national monuments. Only Congress can create national parks, but presidents can make national monuments by declaration...and every president does this. Here is a link to all 90 of the national monuments created by presidential proclamation, the huge majority of which are administered by the NPS:
https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/hisn..._monuments.pdf

And then there are the 56 national parks (26 created since 1964), 10 national seashores (all but one created since 1960), 4 national lakeshores (all created since the 1960's), 20 national preserves, 3 national reserves, 50 national historical parks, 90 historic sites, 4 battlefield parks, 35 national memorial parks, 12 national battlefields, 8 national military parks, 18 national recreation areas, 15 national wild and scenic rivers, 10 national parkways, 23 national historic and scenic trails, 14 national cemetaries, 44 national capital parks, and 9 other areas. A grand total of over 84 million acres.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...al_Park_System

The NPS has an ever-increasing acreage and workload to administer. The maintenance budget and deferred maintenance problem alone is monumental. Infrastructure in the parks is generally in terrible condition, facilities are old, decaying, and certainly many don't meet standards such as ADA compliance.

People think of the large, charismatic parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, etc. and how they are always busy with lots of people and making lots of money. But many small national parks, and many battlefields, national monuments and the myriad other places the NPS manages don't generate such a revenue stream.

While it may be good to have these lands protected from development, it is a monumental task for an agency that has a budget that has had only modest increases over the years. Again, I am not defending the NPS budget or saying it should be more - just presenting information. In 2016, the NPS had a $3 billion dollar operating budget and a maintenance backlog of $12 billion.

Here's how the money is spent:

Functional area FY 2010
Resource stewardship 15%
Visitor services 11%
Park protection 16%
Facility maintenance and operations 31%
Park support 20%
External administrative costs 7%

The number of Full Time Equavalent staff at the NPS has actually gone down since 2010.

So...creating more areas for the NPS to manage is NOT the answer to funding the parks. I am not a fan of corporate sponsorship either. In some circumstances, it can be done discretely and tactfully and in fact, several large corporations do contribute to the national parks in a tasteful and discrete way and you don't even know it. I don't like the idea of corporate sponsorship, but that $12 billion maintenance backlog is only going to get worse and buildings, roads, and facilities are only going to get worse as maintenance gets further deferred.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:55 PM   #4
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Good reply, and points all around. The fact though remains at least for me.. that I pay substantially more to camp than I used to. We all do. And if the parks can't figure out how to manage that increased revenue from a larger pool of camping population in a fair way, I don't know what to tell them. Every park should be able to survive on their own revenue stream, within reason of course as obviously the Yellowstones and Yosemites can contribute a bit more to the till. But if their budget has been *cut* over the last 10 years, but they are bringing in more cash than ever, who's on the take?? It would seem like no matter how much money the park system brings in, they aren't going to get it anyway, so what's the point really? Give them more money so the parks can continue to not see it?

The smaller parks need less, get fewer visitors, and have smaller bills. If president whatever creates a new, unfunded park, than I guess it just sits there until said park can bring in the traffic required to pay their way in the system. I think its fair to bring some open market concepts to the park system, without killing the small parks that need additional support. The public has to keep their expectations in line with reality when visiting the smaller parks in our system. We get what we collectively pay for. If I ever have to see park signage like 'Rocky Mountain National Park, Brought to you by Target.." I'll hang the whole thing up and go back to camping on my own private property.

Being an avid tent camper, I honestly think a lot of our parks are over developed, with infrastructure that wasn't needed to begin with. Now that I'm on the RV bandwagon, I see the need for more 'developed' camping opportunities than I used to. We have to be willing to foot the bill. I thought we were is the problem and it sounds like money coming in is not being spent as we thought (and demand) it should be. I'd like to see a detailed accounting of the entire system. How has their budget gone down when our fees have increased and they have record visitors? That's the question that lingers. Who is congress giving the money we've all contributed to the park system to exactly?
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