From Resources Radio: People, Parks, and Policy, with Margaret Walls


Jan. 15, 2019

News Type

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Resources for the Future released a new installment of Resources Radio: "People, Parks, and Policy, with RFF's Margaret Walls."

In today's podcast, RFF Energy and Climate Program Director Kristin Hayes and RFF Senior Fellow Margaret Walls discuss the economics of the national parks. In recent years, the national parks have received lower levels of appropriation funds (adjusted for inflation) and face a growing deferred maintenance backlog. Walls outlines some potential solutions to this budget issue, such as creating new pricing schemes and locating different sources of revenue for the parks. In light of the ongoing government shutdown, Walls and Hayes also discuss the funds that are being used to keep the national parks open.

Listen here

Notable quotes from the podcast:

  • “This idea that's in Congress right now to use the energy revenues [to fund the national parks], is not a long-term solution. So their notion is to take this money, create a fund for four years to clear the backlog. That's fine, but the backlog exists because annual appropriations are not sufficient to operate the parks.”—Margaret Walls (9:13)
  • “Nonetheless, I'm very sympathetic to the notion of not putting the fees too high. My own view about fees—entrance fees—is that we need to be creative and think about some differential fees. A lot of the parks are overcrowded in the peak season. They probably need higher fees during that season. Parks are crowded on the weekends. Perhaps we need daily differential pricing.”—Margaret Walls (11:31)
  • “So, the notion that some of that money from that growing [outdoor recreation] economy goes back to support our public lands, might not be a bad idea.”—Margaret Walls (14:50)

Resources Radio is a weekly podcast series exploring timely environmental, energy, and natural resources topics, and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.

For more information, please refer to our media resources page or contact Media Relations Associate Anne McDarris.

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