Our national parks are not supposed to be like Disneyland. Our parks serve a purpose far beyond immediate visitor enjoyment and revenue generation; they are supposed to preserve the best of our natural and cultural resources for future generations.
The Bush administration has a different view. It is seeking to both commercialize parks and cannibalize park resources to feed recreational demands. This drive is evident in pending proposals to:
- Allow commercial bio-prospecting in the National Parks. Under the Bush plan, any of the nearly 400 NPS units could enter into a "benefits-sharing agreement" with a corporate research firm to extract and make money from organisms taken from parks, including millions of acres of wilderness areas;
- Authorize corporate sponsorship of parks resources in return for donations solicited and negotiated by park officials; and
- Enter into partnerships with recreational industry groups to pave the way for more all-terrain vehicles, cell phone towers and even game farms in our national parks.
Congress has yet to wake up to the far-reaching implications of these plans. Ask your representative to step up to the plate and protect our parks.