Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day, December 21, 2010

Park Partnerships Under Duress

December 21, 2010 (Washington, DC) - Wonderful partnerships are at work in America's National Parks working to protect the parks and helping to create life-long memories. Many of these partners are non-profits like NatureBridge and the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy. Other partners are businesses operating in or near the parks. But across the board, these partners are finding that red tape is growing dramatically, challenging even long-standing relationships. Fear of U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Inspector General (IG) investigations is prompting the National Park Service to shorten the terms of agreements with their partners -- even as they are asking more of these partners -- and putting each agreement through hoop after hoop of local, regional and national clearance.

The House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on Parks and Partnerships on 9/23 and got an earful. The Congress needs to take action soon to overcome the surge in barriers to partnerships and to send a clear signal that creativity in "doing the right thing" by park superintendents will not only be tolerated but applauded.

For copies of the testimony detailing the problems facing park partners, go here.

Outdoor Recreation Idea of the Day is inspired by the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative to connect Americans to the outdoors and its IdeaJam blog. ARC’s submissions to the blog can be found if you click here. Additional ideas that have been submitted to IdeaJam can be found in our September 2010 newsletter, which is here.