N.P. Service Concessions Policy Criticized
Concessions contracts in national parks are becoming too difficult for small businesses to handle, according to testimony heard by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests & Public Lands at a hearing Thursday (Aug. 2) on Concession Contract Issues for Outfitters, Guides and Smaller Concessions, examiner.com reported.
Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, expressed concern that “increased fees, bureaucracy and regulation are driving up the cost of running private businesses in national parks making profitable operation difficult and threatening the continuation of visitor services that make visitor access possible and affordable for American families while providing thousands of loca1 jobs.”
Bishop said at the hearing that “in some cases, it seems the park service is pushing small businesses into making expensive capital improvements to government facilities that were not contemplated by the concession contract and with costs that are impossible to recoup over the short course of the standard 10-year contract.”
David Brown, executive director of America Outdoors Association, which represents contractors, spoke of the fear that the National Park Service (NPS) “increased its reliance on corporate consultants with little knowledge of outdoor recreation to advise the agency on risk management and other contract provisions. The net result is that some of what is now coming out of (NPS) simply doesn’t work for outfitters and guides and other smaller concessioners.”
Rick Linsdey, CEO of Prime Insurance Co., testified that NPS “is, for some unknown reason, creating many new draconian, unwanted and unwarranted burdens on the outdoor recreation and guided tour industry. One of these new unnecessary burdens is the proposed 10-fold increase in the (insurance) policy limits they must buy, from $500,000 to $5 million, which will financially burden them to the extent that many of the highly skilled, smaller guides will literally be put out of business as a result.”