Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Today entrance to all US National Parks is free

Each year, the US National Park Service has free entrance days.  One of those days already past is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday (January 18th).

Another of those days is the President's Day National Holiday (February 20th).

Other free entrance days later in the year are:

  • April 15-16 & 22-23, 2017 — Weekends of National Park Week
  • August 25, 2017 — National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30, 2017 — National Public Lands Day
  • November 11-12, 2017 — Veterans Day Weekend
Of course, a number of National Park Service facilities are always free.

Issues concerning National Parks

The Find Your Park promotion and marketing campaign was launched by the National Park Service to celebrate its 100th anniversary in honor of its formal founding in 1916.

The Utah Office of Tourism, believing that the National Park Service wasn't adequately marketing the national parks in the state has done their own marketing program, called The Mighty Five, resulting in a significant rise is attendance, maybe even to a detriment ("The mighty wait at The Mighty Five (Utah's national parks)," Salt Lake Deseret News; "In the Footsteps of Many: Collaboration is Key to Preserving the National Park Experience," EDR blog, University of Utah).

The National Park Service has a severe maintenance backlog ("National Park Service delayed $11 billion in maintenance," Washington Post).

In DC, underfunding of NPS facilities is complicated by the tendentious relationship between Congress and "Washington."  The average Congressperson would rather fund facilities in their home districts or states, rather than in the National Capital.

WRT management of the National Mall see:

Separately, many Members of Congress have antipathy towards federal ownership of land in their states ("2 House GOP rules change will make it easier to sell off federal land," "Congress’s latest target for reversal: An Obama attempt to modernize how we manage public lands," Washington Post; "Dozens oppose resolution to release wilderness study areas," Bozeman Daily Chronicle).

Although there are legitimate issues with local vs. federal interests in managing public lands and parks:

Past blog entries:
-- "Park service land and planning woes: local vs. federal," 2011
-- "A gap in planning across agencies: Prioritizing park access for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users compared to motor vehicle access," 2015
-- "Federal shutdown as another example of why local jurisdictions should have more robust contingency and master planning processes," 2013

The Outdoor Industry Association is moving their national conference from Salt Lake City to protest the campaign by Utah legislators at the state and federal levels to shift nationally-owned public lands to the state ("Largest outdoor gear show abandons Salt Lake City after 20 years," Washington Post).

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