A good return on our investment

Rep. Suzan DelBene knows that saving nature is not just a good idea, but also a good business plan for Washington (Sunday Viewpoints commentary, “Care for nature and it will reward our state”).

Rep. DelBene’s district is anchored by the North Cascades National Park and the nearby Ross Lake National Recreation Area. The National Park Service estimates that visitation to the two parks generated nearly $25 million within the immediate region in 2011. Interestingly, back-country visitors to these parks spend about twice as much per person as front country users.

Overall, our national park system generates up to $10 for every $1 dollar invested. That’s a great return, especially for the communities close to major parks like North Cascades.

Unfortunately, the Congressional “sequester” of across the board funding cuts undermines programs without regard for their benefits. At North Cascades and national parks across the country, this means fewer rangers to serve visitors, which could lead to fewer stops at nearby communities or less people engaged in outdoor activities. Across Washington, these budget cuts have forced campgrounds and visitor centers to close, and have not slowed the ground backlog of necessary projects.

As the National Park System approaches its 2016 centennial, Congress and the President must renew their commitment to protecting our national legacy of historic sites and natural landscapes by fully funding our parks.

Western author Wallace Stegner famously called our national park system “the best idea we ever had.” They are also one of the best investments we can make in our state’s economic future.

Rob Smith

Northwest Regional Director

National Parks Conservation Association

Seattle

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Friday, Dec. 15

A sketchy look at the day in politics and popular culture.… Continue reading

Editorial: Congress must renew children’s insurance program

Some 9 million children depend on CHIP for health care. Not renewing it would be costly and cruel.

Gerson: To save the GOP, the party will have to lose

The only way to save the Republican Party from Trumpism is to rebuild it on its ruins.

Harrop: Yes, even some Republicans glad Jones won in ‘Bama

But there is no way to massage the results as a win for President Trump. Change is in the air.

Ignatius: With law and facts against him, Trump pounds table

Even as Mueller’s investigation continues, the trail of evidence points to Trump campaign collusion.

Farmers need to see more support from Rep. Rick Larsen

Our longtime representative in Congress, Rick Larsen, represents many farmers who steward… Continue reading

Gov. Inslee a threat to my wallet

Gov. Jay Inslee’s comment and concerns about President Trump being chaotic, unbalanced… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, Dec. 14

A sketchy look at the day in politics and society.… Continue reading

Will: Moore’s loss hasn’t lifted stain of Trump’s endorsement

After his support of the grotesque, Trump should be shunned by all but his diehard supporters.

Most Read