U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo) had a great idea to keep Yellowstone and all other national parks in good condition and usable for the public for present and future generations.
Unfortunately, the Senate did not see it that way.
Enzi had proposed an amendment to the Great American Outdoors Act that would have increased fees for passes to national parks with the main funding coming from increased visa fees. The amendment was defeated.
The bill in its present form will only provide enough revenue for five years to catch up on some necessary repairs in the parks.
Enzi’s amendment would not only have provided much needed revenue to accomplish the current needed repairs, but would have supplied a steady stream of funding to sustain upkeep in our national parks in perpetuity.
The current bill, which has passed the Senate and is now in the House, is only in Enzi’s words a “one-time fix” that is “neither responsible or permanent.”
Congress recently spent $2.4 trillion on the coronavirus pandemic and is considering adding more funding to that issue.
Now Congress is considering adding more to the national debt to the tune of $17 billion if the Great American Outdoors Act passes without some serious thought of who is going to pay for it. The amendment would have lowered the increase to $9 billion.
Enzi had a method to finance upkeep for our national parks without placing additional burdens on future taxpayers.
The beauty of his plan was that the people who use the parks would be the ones who help maintain and pay for them.
Enzi’s amendment would have provided a fully paid-for fund and a long-term solution to keeping our national parks beautiful and accessible without adding to the national debt.
It is a pity the majority of the Senate was short-sighted.