Thursday, November 01, 2012


We are the richest nation on Earth, and yet our priorities are skewed almost beyond believing. We fund things that are destructive on an incalculable level and we give money to vast corporations who don't need any help. Those same corporations are allowed to set our national agendas, and part of that agenda is the gradual and seemingly unstoppable dissolution of our public lands.

Parks are for things that cannot be measured in terms of dollars. We need our parks and wild lands for reasons far beyond the collecting up of material wealth. Our National Parks are a service and as such do not need to show a profit. The very idea that they should be the source of income for any corporation is a truly disgusting concept.

Currently, there are places where one can lodge in our National Parks that are operated by outside companies. These "concessions" have been a part of some of our National Parks almost since the creation  of those Parks. If that's the way they need to be operated, I don't necessarily have a problem with the idea. However, when a concessionaire doesn't want to bid on such an operation because it's too difficult to turn a profit, then that concession should be re-absorbed into the National Park system and operated as a civil service. Damn the profits. Give the jobs to people who want them and allow their employer to be the Park Service.

One of the best lodges where Carole and I like to stay from time to time is the one at Peaks of Otter. It's a concession operated by a private firm but on property built and owned by the National Park Service. That is, it's owned by the citizens of the USA. The concession has not been renewed because the firm who has been operating there claims that they can no longer turn a profit. Therefore, the Park Service is going to shutter the properties (Peaks of Otter Lodge, Mabry Mill Cabins, Doughton Park Lodge). At that point, no one will be able to lodge there and the buildings will remain dark.

What is going on? If the concessionaire doesn't want to operate the lodges, then the government needs to step up and do the right thing by operating them and employing local people to work there. Smaller government? If seeing our National Parks suffer and come apart at the seams is a part of so-called "smaller government", then to Hell with that pea-brained slogan.

One of the main draws...the most spectacular of the three Peaks of Otter.
View of the lodge from the lakefront.

I took this one from just outside our room.

Panorama of the lake and part of the lodge from the lawn leading down to the lake.

1 comment:

MarkGelbart said...

Theoretically, the government should be able to afford to operate lodges on public property, but it's too late.

Over the past 12 years too much money was wasted on wars of aggession against brown skinned citizens in third world countries as well as a ridiculous unnecessary war machine. Plus, there's been numerous ill-advised tax cuts that cowardly politicians are too afraid to end.

There just isn't enough money left.

That's not how I would run things, if I was in control.

Don't blame the politicians. Blame the American pigs...I mean people. They want all the benefits government provides but don't want to pay the taxes to fund it all. A politician proposing to cut social benefits while raising taxes has no chance whatsoever of getting elected.