Several months ago I talked about the proposed peak season entrance fee increase and shared my support for it. The entrance fee increase was proposed to address the National Park Service’s 11.6 Billion Dollar Maintenance Backlog. This month the NPS announced that they indeed would be raising entrance fees, but not as steeply as originally stated.
On Friday January 18, Congress failed to come to an agreement on a budget and a Government Shutdown occurred. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened and it will not be the last. However, what was different about this shutdown was that the national parks remained open. Today, we are going to examine the pros and cons of that decision and about how this shutdown (and future shutdowns) has the ability to affect our public lands.
On this blog I frequently discuss the issues facing our public lands today. Many of these issues stem from overcrowding and our parks being “loved to death.” As many parks experience more and more visitation, with increasing impacts on the natural resources they are supposed to protect, the question is often raised, “What can we do?” Zion National Park is finally taking charge to do something about this and recently announced the preliminary concepts of their Visitor Use Management Plan (VUMP). This plan is a game changer in many ways, and sets a precedent that we can expect to see other parks following in the upcoming years.
This month we are jumping right back into our spotlight series! As previously covered in an earlier blog, searching the USAjobs website can get confusing. There are hundreds of jobs out there and their job titles might not sound anything like what the position actually entails. Even though you now know how to search for jobs according to their series and grade, you might be thrown off by the jobs that your search comes up with. I am going to be spotlighting specific starter positions within our public lands that you might not necessarily think to apply to. However, these are jobs that you should be applying to, as they offer an excellent foot into the door in the forestry field. This month’s spotlight is on the ever-famous Interpretive Park Ranger job. These are the people you see giving ranger programs and in the visitor centers. You will see these positions listed as Interp, Park Ranger Interp or Park Ranger (I) on USAjobs. It is similar to the education ranger, but there are some differences (NEVER confuse the two, you are likely to deeply offend the ranger). Special thanks to Rangers Ben and Darcy from Zion National Park for helping us out with this month’s spotlight!
It seems as with each passing day that public lands are becoming more and more present on the frontlines of the American social consciousness. For years these lands have gotten so much bipartisan support that we forgot that there are still those out there who aren’t particularly fond of them. In recent years, and even weeks, it has become more and more evident that these special places aren’t beloved by everyone, and that if we want to keep them around the way they are now, we need to be aware of that.
As we approach the end of 2016, I think this is an opportune time to look back on the Centennial year of the National Park Service. It has been a busy year in the parks, with lots of ups and downs. In case you missed them, these are some of the headlines in the NPS from 2016.