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for people who care about the West

Winning hearts and minds — in the National Park Service

  Thank you for the wonderful article “Old but Faithful,” about the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

I agree with this group’s fight against commercialization, too many fees, and fees that are too high in our national parks. I cannot for the life of me understand how Holly Fretwell, of the Libertarian-oriented Property and Environment Research Center, can advocate higher fees when park attendance is dropping and surveys show that minorities and those with little money are not coming to our national parks. Why High Country News did not properly identify the organization that Ms. Fretwell works for I don’t know. Reporters should clearly identify those they quote so readers are aware of their political leanings.

One issue not mentioned in the article is that many Park Service employees who approve of commercialization and private exploitation of our park system have been placed in positions of authority. In many parts of the agency, people of this persuasion are now in charge.

One can only hope those employees who want to protect the parks “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations” win the battle for the soul of the National Park Service.

Brandt Mannchen
Chair, Big Thicket Committee Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club Houston, Texas