NATIONAL PORK SERVICE
President Bush, pro-park? Could this be? Does he mean let's bore for oil in Yellowstone, or is he playing it straight-up? Let's take a look, shall we?
According to the piece, Bush gave the Park Service until next May to supply him with a list of "signature projects and programs," a list likely to include efforts to:
A nice gesture, I suppose, but what the hell does it have to do with park space? And the bigger question remains, of course, whether these buildings are slated for park use, or for . . . well, you know.
* Restore about 30 old, decaying buildings in Ellis Island's South Side Hospital Complex, where nearly 12 million immigrants entered the United States from 1882 until 1954.
* Construct a $100 million light rail system to cut traffic around the heavily visited South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, plus "greenways" with biking and walking trails.See, here's where the cynicism always seeps in when the Adminstration gets behind any spending measure. A light rail around the Grand Canyon? Do we really need this? A reported cost of $100 M. What's it really gonna cost? Also, notice that "the plan" seems to call for a primary focus on the light rail system? While the "greenways" for biking & walking -- you know, that crazy "park stuff" -- is an afterthought.
I'll be the first to come out straight and say it: people don't drastically change their stripes after 5 1/2 years (or 60, depending on what we're defining). Leaders who've never given two shits about the environment (whether in nature, in public places, in towns, in parks, overseas) don't wake up one day and decide it's the new priority.
I Don't Trust This.
I'd love to see Congress -- which controls the purse strings according to the Constitution -- block this crap. But that'll never happen. And I plan to do my part in November to demonstrate to them the consequences of their failure to do that job.