Private businesses take over services to keep Yellowstone functioning

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The private businesses that make their living from tourism at Yellowstone have picked up the tab for all services the National Park Service is no longer doing because of the the government shut down.

Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which runs the only hotels inside Yellowstone that remain open during the winter, is leading the effort to cover the $7,500 daily tab for keeping the roads plowed and the snowmobile trails groomed during the shutdown, according to NPR. Thirteen other private businesses that offer tours of the park are chipping in $300 a day to help cover that expense.

Meanwhile, Xanterra has some of its own employees assigned to clean park bathrooms during the shutdown, and snowmobile tour guides are packing their own toilet paper for customers to use.

These private businesses have a financial self-interest in keeping the park clean and functioning. And they also have an incentive to get the job done as efficiently as possible. In fact, they are demonstrating how little we need much of the park service.

I imagine similar things are occurring in many other national parks and forests. And if they are not, they should be. And those cases where their aren’t private businesses to pick up the slack, the local state governments should move in. They too have a financial incentive to keep these natural wonders open and unharmed.



  • wayne

    tangentially related–
    The Bureau of Engraving & Printing, and the US Mint are unaffected by the alleged ‘shutdown.’
    The BEP and the Mint are funded by their own Public Enterprise Fund, and not by annual appropriation’s.

  • Phill O

    “In fact, they are demonstrating how little we need much of the park service.”

    Government employees have for too long drifted along without actually doing much for far too long. They have grown fat and are no longer employable in the real world. Been there: Seen that first hand. Far too long they have tried to take control of free enterprise.

  • commodude

    Phill, you paint with a damnably broad brush.

    While empire building and other fun endeavors are symptomatic of the bureaucracy, the bulk of government employees just want to come in, do a good job, earn a paycheck, and go home.

    While you can find many news stories stating otherwise, they are, in fact, the outliers, and given the size and scope of the government, in any mass of personnel that large you’re going to find bad apples.

  • commodude: Your experience in government differs significantly from mine at the FAA during the 1970s. My impression then, looking at all my co-workers, was that most government workers were either lazy, incompetent, empire building, or unfocused on their work. One disappeared for the last year before retirement, using his sick leave with a fake illness. Both of my superiors did nothing, sloughing off all the work on me because they saw I would do it. Except for the engineering departments, almost everyone I dealt with seemed mostly proud about how little work they did.

    They were also a second generation of workers, very different from the first generation in the 1950s who had built this agency and most of the country’s large airports during the big expansion of commercial air travel. In reviewing the entire files of my office while working there I found that the previous generation had been made up of a tiny handful of people much more dedicated in getting the job done. The change illustrated the typical evolution of a government office.

    As always, any generalization carries with it some falsehood. Nonetheless, I think this generalization for most of today’s government workers applies. God knows I have certainly been reporting on the failures of our federal government to get anything accomplished properly, repeatedly, for quite a long enough.

  • Calvin Dodge

    “the bulk of government employees just want to come in, do a good job, earn a paycheck, and go home.”

    The experience of a close relative is somewhat different. In his area (Department of Labor), many don’t do a good job, and promotions are awarded for political reasons (i.e., given to Lefties).

  • wayne

    I’ve worked in non-profit, private for profit, State, and local government run programs. The employee ‘personality’ mix was roughly similar. (Good help is hard to find, for any setting.) The huge difference from my perspective (broadly ‘human services’) in the private sector we could ‘re-purpose’ your particular skills &/or remove you from doing direct harm, a heck of a lot faster.
    (and anecdotally– 20% of the people did 80% of the work, on average. Everyone else– you wonder if they could hold a real job that actually involved working.)

    Only 17% of the Federal Government is actually ‘closed.’

  • Phill O

    ” commodude
    January 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Phill, you paint with a damnably broad brush. ”

    I may use a broad brush, but the wall is even broader and one brush strock will not cover a whole wall.

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