To the editor:
The government’s closure of the Grand Canyon this past October was costly? Didn’t we already know that? Of course the need to “close” public lands was nonsensical and I think most of us realized that at the time. So I was puzzled about why the Park Service would take the time to calculate the actual dollar value of the harm they caused and issue a report.
But, now I get it. This report is really a desperate cry for help. Officials at the Park Service must feel tormented by the pain and suffering they have caused. In their typically awkward way, they are asking for our forgiveness.
Upon reading this report, I think any reasonable person would come away recognizing that the NPS is also asking us to find ways to insure that visitor services are beyond the reach of park officials so that we can avoid this problem in the future. Indeed, this report reads like a subtle request for the crafting of a new compact between the NPS and the public.
I think we can all agree that the Park Service’s mission begins below the rim. I think that the NPS might even embrace a proposal to restore all the land on the rim to state control. Or, dare we dream, even to private control. That would be the truly sustainable option.