June 23, 2018

Secretary Zinke Partners with ?Congress on Bipartisan Bill to Fix Our National Parks

Press Release from the Department of Interior:

Marks an important component of President Trump’s Infrastructure Framework for Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

3/7/2018
Last edited 3/7/2018

Date: March 7, 2018
Contacts: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke joined U.S. Senator s Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME) , Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and others to introduce a bipartisan bill to rebuild America’s National Park s. The proposed bill would use up to $18 billion in revenue derived from energy produced on federal lands and waters to establish a special fund within the Treasury specifically for “National Park Restoration”. The bill follows the blueprint laid out in Secretary Zinke and President Trump’s budget proposal, the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. The Alexander/King bill’s cosponsors are: Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO) , and Thom Tillis (R-NC). This bill fulfills one of the priorities laid out in President Trump’s legislative framework for rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

” Infrastructure is an investment, not merely an expense. And every dollar we put in to rebuilding our parks, will help bolster the gateway communities that rely on park visitation for economic vitality. Since the early days of my confirmation, I’ve been talking with members of the House and Senate about how we can use energy revenue to rebuild and revitalize our parks and communities,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Infrastructure is also about access for all Americans. Not all visitors to our parks have the ability to hike with a 30-pound pack and camp in the wilderness miles away from utilities. In order for families with young kids , elderly grandparents , or persons with disabilities to enjoy the parks, we need to rebuild basic infrastructure like roads, trails, lodges, restrooms and visitors centers. This bill is the largest investment in National Parks in our nation’s history. This is not a republican or democrat issue, this is an American issue, and I think that the bipartisan body of lawmakers who put this bill forward is proof.”

“This legislation will help address the over $11 billion maintenance backlog at our national parks, including the $215 million backlog of projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Senator Alexander said. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s greatest treasures – and it has a tremendous economic impact in East Tennessee, attracting nearly twice the visitors of any other national park. Addressing the maintenance backlog will help attract even more visitors and create more jobs for Tennesseans. We must continue to work together to find solutions to the many challenges facing our public lands, and this legislation takes an important step toward doing that.”

“Montanans are blessed to have America’s most beautiful national parks right outside our front doors,” said Senator Daines.“These critical economic drivers must be maintained and protected so that our outdoor economy can continue to grow and our parks remain accessible to all Montanans. This bipartisan bill is a commonsense step forward to ensure that the challenges facing our national parks are finally addressed.”

“For more than a century, our national parks have inspired and amazed countless visitors,” said Senator King. “Unfortunately, these parks don’t take care of themselves – they need maintenance to ensure that future generations can experience the same wonder that so many Americans already have. This bill is a practical step to help clear the existing maintenance backlog, and protect these treasured lands for years to come.”

“As someone who loves public lands and our National Parks, I am thrilled to be standing here today with Secretary Zinke, Senator Alexander, Senator King, and Congressman Schrader to propose a solution to fixing the backlog maintenance,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “Growing up in Yellowstone’s backyard, it is important that we pay it forward to future visitors that deserve the same quality experience as past generations. There are many people who deserve credit for bringing this issue to the forefront and I look forward to working with them to advance legislation that fixes our Parks.”

“Oregonians have a genuine appreciation for the outdoors and our National Parks and recreation areas,” said Representative Schrader. “Our ability to enjoy and appreciate that natural beauty is limited when upkeep on our federal lands isn’t sufficiently funded allowing critical maintenance to fall by the wayside. Not only does that impact our enjoyment of the land, but it poses serious risks to the protection of these areas and hurts our communities that rely on the economic benefit from visitors. Currently, our national parks are in dire need of maintenance with a more than ten billion dollar backlog. Our bill provides an innovative solution by creating the National Park Restoration Fund which will provide mandatory funding from unutilized resources already available to us, to bring that backlog down and ensure our National Park System is well and safely kept for generations to come.”

The National Park Service estimates that its maintenance and repair backlog exceeds $11.6 billion. In 2017, 330 million people visited the 417 NPS sites across the country. The NPS completed over $650 million in maintenance and repair work in FY 2017, but aging facilities, high visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010.

Some examples of maintenance projects include:

  • ??Everglades National Park (Florida) – Showers, campgrounds and lodges that were destroyed during a hurricane more than a decade ago remain broken. Total Everglades maintenance backlog cost, more than $90 million.
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana) – Earlier this month, an observation deck overlooking Lake Michigan crumbled and fell to the ground after years of erosion. Total Indiana Dunes maintenance backlog cost, more than $26 million.
  • Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – A pipeline, and the only infrastructure to deliver water to the South Rim Village of 19,634 people daily for drinking, cooking and firefighting, breaks several times a year putting the well-being of the community including park lodges, visitor centers, homes, and Grand Canyon hikers at risk. Total Grand Canyon maintenance backlog cost, more than $329 million.
  • ??Statue of Liberty National Monument (NY/NJ) – $34.45 million is needed to stabilize the Ellis Island Seawall, which protects Ellis Island from erosion of wave action. $3.77 million is also needed to rehabilitate the Fire-Life-Safety System in the Main Immigration Building, where 2.2 million annual visitors start and end their visit to the island. Total Statue of Liberty National Monument maintenance backlog cost, more than $166 million.

While National Parks have enjoyed historic visitation over the past few years, many Americans have never been to a NPS
site and are unfamiliar with what infrastructure they hold. Here’s a quick look at National Park Service infrastructure across the board:

  • More than 5,500 miles of paved roads
  • More than 1,700 bridges and tunnels
  • More than 17,000 miles of trails
  • More than 1,300 campgrounds
  • More than 24,000 buildings including more than 500 visitor centers, 425 park lodges and hotel buildings, 3,870 housing units and more than 3,700 bathrooms
  • More than 1,000 miles of water pipelines
  • More than 1,500 water systems
  • More than 1,800 wastewater systems
  • More than 500 electrical systems
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Cantwell To Trump Administration: Don’t Cut Taxes For Corporations By Raising Entrance Fees To National Parks

Press Release from the office of Sen. Cantwell, member of the House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:

Seattle, Washington – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) joined with leading outdoor enthusiasts and small businesses to call on the Trump Administration and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to withdraw the National Park Service’s (NPS) proposal to nearly triple national park entrance fees.

On October 24, the National Park Service announced a proposal to almost triple the peak season entrance fees at 17 of the most popular national parks. Beginning in 2018, fees to enter these parks during the 5-most-popular months would jump from $25-$30 to $70 per vehicle. The entrance fee increases would impact: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah, and Joshua Tree National Parks.

“We are here today because the Park Service plans to almost triple the entrance fees at the 17 most visited and most iconic national parks across the country – including Mt. Rainier and Olympic,” said Senator Cantwell. “As corporate tax breaks are also being discussed, I don’t know why park fees then have to be raised. To me this price increase is unconscionable.” 

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation is a major economic driver. In Washington state alone, outdoor recreation accounts for more than 201,000 direct jobs, $26.2 billion in annual consumer spending, $7.6 billion in wages and salaries, and $2.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.

“With the Park Service Centennial just last year, we have begun a big conversation about how to get more people into the parks – and more people enjoying the outdoor economy. Increasing the fee, is not exactly what I think will do that. These are wonderful places, and they are public lands, and should be affordable for everyone,” said Senator Cantwell.

During the event, REI released a statement saying, “REI stands firmly by our longstanding, nonpartisan view of the outdoors. For 80 years, we have worked with leaders from both parties to protect America’s iconic outdoor places and create access to transformative outdoor experiences.”

The fee increases proposed by Secretary Zinke will price out many visitors and deny American families, veterans, young people, and seniors the opportunity to visit and experience some of our nation’s most popular and iconic national parks.

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The King Will Take Care of His Own Deer

“Only qualified federal employees can take part in the deer management program — hunting is not permitted inside the parks.”<<<Read More>>>

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Letter to the Wall Street Journal

by James Beers

*A Letter to the Wall Street Journal and to Shawn Regan (PERC, Bozeman, Montana) about his 25 April Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, National Parks: Lost in the Wilds of Neglect.

Tick, Tick*

Shawn Regan is to be commended for his description of the irresolvable and increasing maintenance backlog throughout the National Park System.  The same is true of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Forests and the Bureau of Land Management real estate.  His recommendations of stopping acquisition; selling land to generate revenue for maintenance backlogs; keeping park revenues locally; turning to the private economy to tackle infrastructure and operations problems; and creating a franchising system for new parks are each and all sound and needed actions for all four large federal land ownerships.

We must keep in mind one hidden cost however; the cost hidden by the federal bureaucrats from the public for decades.  Concessionaires on these federal estates are mostly long-established and entrenched businesses operating under government agreements and contracts.  Over time, Concession improvements, facilities and other real property have been provided by the concessionaires.  Such real property remains the property of the concessionaires that use that as a reason to remain the concession operators although the illusion has been that of federal bureaucracy providing them.

Close the Park (or Refuge or Forest et al) and the concessionaire can sue for return of or reimbursement of the property and values “donated” over the years.  The costs of this on these federal properties subject to Mr. Regan’s badly needed (for more reasons than maintenance) prescriptions will present the Congress with an enormous bill and lawsuits that will significantly diminish the hoped-for revenue to “tackle” maintenance and operations on remaining landholdings.

Jim Beers

Former Chief of Refuge Operations, USFWS, Washington, DC

25 April 2016

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Keeping Campaign Promises for a National Park?

*Editor’s Note* – We all know Angus King was bought and paid for, mostly with Michael Bloomberg money and being in lockstep with Obama. Voting against action that would place more authority in state’s hands to prevent the Federal Government from continuing its onslaught of land stealing, one has to wonder if Angus King (with dot connecting) voted against this bill in order to stay in lockstep with Obama, Bloomberg and Roxanne Quimby.

Senate vote 1

DECLARING NATIONAL MONUMENTS: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to the Energy Policy Modernization Act. The amendment would have required the expiration within three years of any presidential declaration of a national monument if the declaration is not subsequently authorized by federal law and state law where the monument is located.

Lee said recent presidents have overridden the interests of those located near federal lands with monument declarations that deprive them of livelihoods earned on the lands, making the amendment necessary to give those residents “a voice in the land management decisions of their community.”

An amendment opponent, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, said it sought to give states an unprecedented veto authority over federal land management practices, hurting the president’s ability to use monument designations to protect threatened lands.

The vote was 47 yeas to 48 nays. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, gave a yea vote, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, gave a nay vote.<<<Source>>>

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The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parks

*Editor’s Note* – Below is a teaser and a link to an article aimed at discovering the truth about “conservation,” it’s roots, and what it has done to the world. It’s also about the evolution of Environmentalism.

While many items in this article are true and based up truth, it is my opinion that the author, director of Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, may rely on some wildlife management myths himself. However, much of what is written is worthy of reading and with most things we read and study today, we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

Iconoclasm – questioning heroes and ideals, and even tearing them down – can be the most difficult thing. Many people root their attitudes and lives in narratives that they hold to be self-evidently true. So it’s obvious that changing conservation isn’t going to be an easy furrow to plow.

Source: The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parks

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LePage tells Obama to steer clear of national park debate

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has sent letters to President Barack Obama and Maine’s congressional delegation to express opposition to as-yet unreleased proposals that would apply national monument protections to federal land in the Gulf of Maine and land eyed for a national park in the Millinocket area.

Source: LePage tells Obama to steer clear of national park debate — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

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People Are Vanishing – Unexplained

VIDEO: Unexplained? I have heard some people want to jump on the theory that it’s wolves and/or large predators and the government is covering it up. All the abductions take place in national parks and many are children. While I won’t discard a theory of large predators, there are several other theories, the bulk of which most are not willing to consider, much because they don’t know anything about them, will not search for the truth but are willing to pass it off as ET, UFO abductions.

Here’s a very quickly thrown together list of possible causes, in no particular order:
1. Mind Control
2. Illuminati – known for child abductions to be used as human sacrifices as part of their Satanic rituals.
3. HAARP – Microwave, Laser, mind control, weather manipulation (see video)
4. Demonic activity – Nephilim, demonic possession of both humans and animals, Bible, prophecy
5. Government activities
6. Large predators
7. Alien abductions
8. Big Foot

And I know there are readers who can add to this list and explanations. Please do so in the comments section.

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Sen. Coburn Report: PARKED – How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities Are Trashing Our National Treasures

Dear Taxpayer,

Visitors to national parks have been threatened with trespassing charges, obstructed from paying their respects at a memorial to those who lost their lives in service to our country, and turned away from other National Park Service sites closed due to a lack of funding.

All of this began occurring before the government shutdown in October.

Perhaps more than any other part of the federal government, our National Park System has become the symbol of Washington, DC dysfunction. These cherished national treasures, which were entrusted to the National Park Service to be preserved and protected, have instead been neglected or abused for political gamesmanship.

Long before the government shutdown and sequestration, congressional shortsightedness and bureaucratic mismanagement were already plaguing our national parks. Barricaded parks across the country exposed the calamity in Washington in 2013, but the National Park System has long been a microcosm of the irresponsible and misplaced priorities within the entire federal budget. Just as important programs like Medicare and Social Security have been raided for decades to pay for politicians’ pet projects, Washington has also plundered the National Park Service budget to create new parks and programs with little national significance. And as the lack of budget discipline has driven up the national debt and jeopardized the solvency of retirement programs and our nation’s future, the misplaced priorities within the parks budget are endangering the care of the very sites we all revere.

Our elected representatives have been too focused on their own parochial political interests to see the state of disrepair that has befallen some of our greatest national treasures. For example, the National Mall—clearly visible from the Capitol and White House— has become a national disgrace, trampled on and worn out.

Politicians would rather take credit for creating a new park in their community than caring for the parks that already exist. There is, after all, no ribbon cutting ceremony for taking out the trash, fixing a broken railing or filling a pothole.

But failing to conduct maintenance endangers the longevity of our parks and experience of their visitors. Last year alone, the National Park Service delayed more than a quarter billion dollars in much needed maintenance projects, adding to the $11.5 billion maintenance backlog already threatening the health, safety, and accessibility of park visitors.

The ever growing maintenance cost has not stopped those in Washington from adding new parks, programs, and property to the Park Service. This year, mere days after sequestration supposedly caused the delay in the opening of and shorter hours at national parks, the President single-handedly established three new National Park units. Likewise, Congress spent $57 million to purchase more property for the parks– some land for nearly $1 million per acre. No one would purchase a new car while ignoring a leaking ceiling or broken pipes in their own home, but that is essentially what Washington is doing with our national parks.
The decaying of our National Parks is the physical manifestation of Washington’s misplaced priorities. Much like the accrual of our $17 trillion national debt over time, the build-up of deferred care of national park lands is the direct result of Washington’s out-of-control spending addiction that puts off doing what is necessary for doing what is self-serving. Whether it be the uncertainty of future U.S. treasury markets or the tenuous state of a corroded water pipe and an aging utility system, the unsustainable trajectory of deficits and deferrals make it only a matter of time before all will experience failure.

This report, PARKED! How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities Are Trashing Our National Treasures, exposes how Washington is failing to properly maintain our most enduring and esteemed sites and symbols and where your tax dollars intended for these parks is being spent instead. It also provides commonsense recommendations to ensure that those parks and memorials with true national significance are given the care they deserve so their beauty and significance to our history is preserved for future generations.

Sincerely,
Tom A. Coburn, M.D.
U.S. Senator

Use this link to download a copy of the report.

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Stay Out You Peasant Filth

Photo Commentary:

overlordspark

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