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November/December 2005

The Future Of National Parks

Everyone loves national parks--but are they being loved to death? Join representatives from the Park Service, Department of the Interior, Sierra Club, American Hiking Society, and more to explore the fate of this embattled American institution.

CORPORATIONS ARE INCREASINGLY PARTNERING WITH THE PARKS TO PROVIDE FUNDS OR SERVICES. IS THIS A MUCH-NEEDED BOON, OR IS THE NPS SELLING ITS SOUL?

Michael Frome Partnerships mean more voice for commercial interests. They don’t mean partnerships for preservation; they mean partnerships for exploitation.

Jerry Rogers Some kinds of sponsorship would be humiliating to the American people. You know, a sports stadium is a facility; national parks are a resource, America’s crown jewels. We ought to pay the bulk of the cost with taxpayer dollars.

Suzanne Lewis Partnerships are going to be a big part of our future. You’ve got to manage them, manage expectations of what that partnership can or cannot do. But I think corporations are respectful of national parks being public domain.

Fran Mainella Today the park service is 56 percent private sector in all that we do. So when we do big projects, we need to do so in a way that is respectful.

Robyn Bishop We [at Ford] definitely want to be part of helping the parks address their transportation challenges and preserving them for generations. We’re proud that we have been able to develop a model private-public partnership. Our transportation programs were not something that Ford developed in a vacuum and then said to the park service, “You know, we’d like to fund these.” The park service came to us with its transportation challenges.

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