Trump Administration Continues Mulling The Privatization Of National Parks
The Trump administration is considering privatization of national park campgrounds to further commercialize the parks, but the controversial team of advisors called for blacking out senior discounts during peak holiday seasons as a part of their plan, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Interior Department’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee aims to make America’s national parks more attractive to the digitally minded younger generation, yet faces angry opposition from conservation organizations and senior citizen advocates.
“America’s outdoor heritage is on the line,” said Jayson O’Neill, deputy director of the Western Values Project, a nonprofit public lands watchdog group. “The trouble with these recommendations is that they were written by concessionaire industry representatives vying for more control of national parks.”
While the administration argues that privatization can better operate national parks than the public sector, corporate donors and businesses with conflicts of interest have been invited to offer proposals.
“The corporate interests on this committee stand to financially benefit from the privatization and corporate giveaways they are empowered to make,” said Nicole Gentile, deputy director of public lands at the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank.
“And they are strategically inflating the Park Service’s maintenance backlog to use it as a talking point to scare the public into accepting privatization as necessary in our national parks,” she added, a claim to which a spokesman for the National Park Service has since denied.