Today, Friends of Acadia President David MacDonald testified on the state of the National Park System before the National Parks Subcommittee of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. David currently serves as the President of the National Park Friends Alliance Steering Committee and testified, along with other National Park leaders, adding the perspective of the park partner community.
David expressed the importance and popularity of our national parks in the pandemic year and stressed three important themes:
- The pandemic put tremendous pressure on park partner organizations, with dramatic reductions in revenue, staffing and operations;
- National parks have unfortunately been under-resourced for decades, looking to park partners as an option to help plug the gap, and the pandemic revealed the risks of this shift and underscored the importance of Congress maintaining and increasing funding;
- While funding is important, we must also be willing to create a framework of policies and practices that encourage the innovation, flexibility and entrepreneurship that partners bring to the table.
The hearing broadcast is linked below – you can hear David speak at about 35:20 minutes into the hearing and again at 1:17:00.