In response to Arnie Merrick’s Oct. 21 letter, “Shutdown exposed inadequacy,” the National Park Service is charged with the responsibility of protecting our national treasures. Despite a shoestring budget, they provide sufficient staff to collect fees, provide law enforcement, clean the toilets, empty the trash, staff the stores, and protect the monuments and lands from We the People. After all, we’ve been known to start fires, cut down trees, poach animals and otherwise trash or deface the landscape and national monuments.
Yes, National Parks bring in money, but not nearly enough to properly run and protect them. Absent the federal funds needed to pay the salaries, buy the supplies and pay for the myriad activities required to provide that protection, the Park Service had two choices — open wide or shut down. They chose wisely. The National Park Service, even at full strength, is underfunded and understaffed. No profit-motivated private enterprise could or would provide so much for so little.
Joseph R. Maurer