Editorial: Pass Kempthorne's national park initiative
"It is only June, but given a summer recess and the fall’s campaigning, the rest of the legislative year could well be wasted, and some good bills left to die, unless Congress starts working harder now.

One piece of legislation that deserves a serious push is the National Park Service Centennial Initiative. A brainchild of Dirk Kempthorne, the Interior secretary, the initiative would use the years leading up to the park system’s 100th birthday in 2016 to raise $1 billion in private money and match that with $1 billion in federal money — above and beyond normal appropriations — to rejuvenate the national parks.

As recent visitors can attest, the parks need all the help they can get. Stingy budget appropriations and decades of deferred maintenance have taken a toll on everything from park roads to day-to-day operations. In his brief tenure, Mr. Kempthorne has done several good things for the parks — including killing a potentially harmful rewrite of the service’s management policies that would have promoted inappropriate commercial and recreational activities at the expense of conservation. He wants now to provide a special revenue stream by using the promise of a federal match to entice private donors to help underwrite vital projects."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Help the Parks (The New York Times 6/10)

Related Story:
National meeting of park officials draws fire (AP 6/9)