Department Of Interior Inching Closer Toward Letting Private Industry Run National Parks
Soon, Americans are going to wake up one day and find that all 419 national parks across the country are under the control of private businesses because an advisory panel appointed by President Donald Trump just voted in favor of privatization.
National Parks are pristine environmental refuges that preserve our natural heritage and protect wildlife while allowing us to enjoy the wilderness. But for years, private industries have been seeking to open up these parks to their business. Now they may be about to get their wish because the Subcommittee on Recreation Enhancement Through Reorganization just passed along a set of recommendations to Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that would invite businesses in.
Again, we are talking about pristine natural environments, but this panel is recommending that food trucks and mobile vendors be allowed to set up shop inside the parks, a move that would undoubtedly result in more trash and encroachment upon wildlife and destruction of habitat.
But that’s not all, the panel is also recommending nickel and diming every visitor who comes to the park, especially senior citizens who currently enjoy the Senior Pass, a lifetime pass purchased for just $80, by blacking out many dates, thus voiding the pass on those days. The panel also recommends establishing hiking fees.
The committee claims to have sent the memo to the Interior Department for review, but the department denies it.
“We have not received formal recommendations from the committee for the department’s consideration. We’ll review the report once we receive it and respond accordingly,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News.
Understandably, this move has angered environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, which responded in a statement slamming the Trump administration and warning that companies that financially support Trump and his campaign would benefit the most.
“Now the Trump administration is trying to pass a fee hike under the radar, and pave the way for full privatization of our national parks,” Sierra Club associate director Joel Pannell said. “Turning our national parks into profit centers for a select few vendors would rob our public lands of just what makes them special. Hiking fees and limiting discounts for seniors will shut out working families and elders on fixed incomes. We will not allow the embattled Trump administration to turn our national parks into playgrounds for the wealthy and privileged, or permit companies that financially support the Trump campaign to profit from privatization of our public lands. Park lovers and outdoor advocates across the nation will rise up in resistance.”
Western Values Project deputy director Jayson O’Neill expressed similar concerns.
“Trump’s scheme to privatize national parks means one thing: the park-going public’s money will go to connected special interests and campaign donors instead of supporting the parks themselves,” he wrote. Selling out our national parks for Trump’s own pork barrel political gains is something that Americans simply won’t stand for.”
This is an attack on the American people and an outright assault on the environment. Allowing private businesses to take over our national parks opens all of them up to abuse in the name of greed, especially since fossil fuel companies are itching to move in to set up shop as well.
Once our national parks are destroyed by private industry, we can never get them back. It’s not only time to resist, it’s time to revolt before we lose these special places forever.
Featured Image: Wikimedia