Month: January 2013

Huff Post Live Discusses National Parks and Privatization

I was on Huffington Post Live the other day in a panel discussion on privatizing National Parks.  The link to the video and comments is here.

None of the panelists, including me, advocated for privatizing National Parks.  The whole point of public lands, as I have written on this site before, is to change the decision-making calculus around development of and access to these lands from net present value to broader access and more natural settings.  In other words, no one wants a McDonalds in front of Old Faithful.

What I did advocate for, as discussed starting around the 7 minute mark, is for privatization of certain operational tasks, from bathroom cleaning to maintenance to landscaping, in order to reduce costs.  Already, the high cost of using civil service employees to perform these tasks are crowding out things like maintenance and renovation.

Parks 2.0

A relatively new group called the Conservation Leadership Council kicked off their tenure by sponsoring six articles on the future of environment and land management.  One of those size initiatives was called Parks 2.0: Operating State Parks Through Public-Private Partnerships.

I won’t be coy — the authors interviewed me several times and I helped them find the relevant data.  But they did a great job outlining how parks agencies can reduce operating costs and thus keep their parks open using PPP’s for park operations.  A great primer for those interested in this model.