We love our parks

  Congressional hopefuls take heed: It pays to support national parks. Three-quarters of voting Americans say their representative's record on parks is important, according to a 1996 survey conducted by Colorado State University for the nonprofit National Parks and Conservation Association. The 46-page survey, American Views on National Park Issues, found that only 4 percent of citizens were more likely to vote for someone who wanted to close some national parks, while 70 percent supported creation of new parks. Fifty-eight percent favored congressional candidates who support spending more tax money for the Park Service. Yet only a slim majority of those polled were willing to pay $5 more in park entrance fees. Only one-fifth would pay $10 more. As for the nation's oldest national park, 61 percent of survey respondents said they were in favor of wolf reintroduction at Yellowstone, and 72 percent said the government should stop the proposed New World gold mine near the northern border of the park. The survey backs the conventional wisdom: Though Americans disagree on environmental issues, they rally behind their national parks. For further information, contact Glenn E. Haas, College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 (970/491-6591).