The last remaining justification that anyone has given me for the need to close privately-funded concession-run parks in the US Forest Service is that the Forest Service must close to all uses on its lands. But this justification is now in total tatters, making it all the more clear that closure of private concessionaires was an arbitrary and unjustified action. Here is why:
- As reported earlier, the US Forest Service is still allowing many recreation uses on its lands. Individuals can still camp and hike in non-developed areas. Many US Forest Service campgrounds till seem to be open (example Oak Flats near Globe, AZ). And many state parks, such as Fool Hollow and Slide Rock in AZ and Burney Falls in CA that operate on US Forest Service land have been allowed to remain open and still use Forest Service land for recreation. In fact, the only groups that seem to be closed in the US Forest Service are private concessionaires, which increasingly appear to have been singled out for rough treatment by the Administration.
- We have received emails from the US Forest Service that these closures are required to be consistent with the NPS, but the NPS is allowing its parks to be reopened if they are funded by outside agencies. Both Arizona and Utah have reached agreements to reopen National Parks in their states through use of state funding. So why can't private parks on Federal lands be reopened through the use of private funding, which is how we operate anyway? Its almost as if this Administration has some sort of bias against private activity.