Originally Posted by DaveInDenver
The vandalism argument is something I hadn't considered. That's a valid point. The NPS budget was $3 billion last year, which represents 0.1% of the whole Federal government. But it's something that carries more impact than its budget would suggest. Of all the things to fight over, something that costs each taxpayer something like $20 annually. If it was up to me I'd spin it off, increase the price of our annual pass that $20 and run it quasi (or maybe even fully) independent of the Federal government. Maybe let the state park departments where the parks are located run them, they'd be closer in touch with local issues anyway.
Perhaps. But see my comment above. The parks are generally run pretty well.
I certainly don't want to see them go private, and I will give you a personal example of why.
My wife's grandfather is handicapped. We took him out to Point Loma in San Diego, which is an NPS run site. The place was pretty packed. Not terrible, but decently busy. There were two rangers on duty at the visitors center, and one that we saw up at the light house. One of the Rangers made a point to come over, and talk to her grandfather, and provided us with a wheel chair (he uses a walker but was having difficulty navigating the pathway's. He then gave us a pass to drive him up a restricted road so that he could visit the lighthouse without having to hike him up a steep hill. We saw the same treatment for other disabled folks. All for the 5 dollar entrance price and the 20 bucks per year we pay.
We then went to the Hotel del Corronado. Also a historical site, but privately owned. Addmission was 25 dollars, and then we had to go find, rent, and return with a wheel chair (another 25 bucks) and argue over our use of a handicapped space (despite our placard) with the parking attendant. All of the service was rude and in some cases, IMO, disrespectful (though I was pissed off so it may have been just rude).
I think there are many areas where privatizing gov't run programs makes at least some sense, but the parks are not one of them. (I realize you were not advocating this Dave, just putting the argument out there). Bringing them to State level, that is a different story, and perhaps a blending of the two might make some sense, not sure.
Sorry for the rants, but I REALLY like the National Parks