Opinion: Wrongheaded “Rightsizing” of the National Parks

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Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve shows its fall colors.

The opinion piece “It’s Time to Commence Closing National Parks” by Gill Lusk is incorrect on a lot of fronts. More than the 40 years that I worked for the National Park Service, there have been numerous attempts at “national park closure commissions”. In 2005, Congressman Richard Pombo (CA-R) announced his personal hit list. Like Lusk, he began with parks with the lowest visitation, implying that recognition is the most important criteria for their preservation. Some of the parks on his list have been modest historical internet sites like the houses of Revolutionary war hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune, locations in no way anticipated to welcome hordes of guests. Pombo also integrated Alaskan wilderness like the two.7 million acre Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, the four million-acre Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and the two.five million acre Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. These Alaska parks are remote and visitation is low, but they preserve massive biodiversity and the standard lifeways of Native Alaskans. Pombo’s closure proposal went down in the flames of public outcry as need to Lusk’s ill-conceived opinion.

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