National Parks $9B in the hole, Congress votes $50M to buy 2900 acres of a Caribbean island

If this doesn’t tell you the Dems have their priorities screwed up, not much else is going to make an impression:

Two weeks ago, on a near party line vote, a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.

“This is a beautiful and important natural and cultural resource that is in danger of being lost forever,” Virgin Island delegate, Donna Christiansen, told House colleagues in January.

“The site to be designated as the Castle Nugent National Historic Park continues to be heralded as one of the last pristine areas in the region.”

The mixture of dry forest and rangeland offers picturesque views of the Caribbean Sea, but good luck getting there. Critics in Congress say the purchase is wasteful and irresponsible, especially with unemployment at 10 percent and the nation in debt.

“Now is not the time to spend up to $50 million dollars of the taxpayers’ money to buy nearly 3,000 acres of beachfront property on a Caribbean Island,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-Wash.), ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. “We can’t afford a price tag for a new park in St Croix, just as many Americans will never be able to afford a visit there.”

Democrats approved the purchase, even though the National Park Service has yet to complete a study on the purchase.

“We don’t have the money to do this,” said Rep Jason Chaffetz, (R – Utah). “Currently the National Park Service has an estimated $9 billion in backlog maintenance on existing parks. Why should the people of Iowa, Rhode Island or California or Utah have to continue to pay and supplement the people there on St Croix for this property?”

Emphasis mine. Now let me get this right: a cotton plantation is a “beautiful and important natural and cultural resource”? Why? We have dozens of former cotton plantations right here in the US, quite accessible to the American people without plopping down $400 per person for the airfare. (And that’s a fairly advance purchase, I might add. Want to go quickly? Double that.) As far as a natural resource goes, I have no doubts it’s beautiful. It’s on St. Croix, for cryin’ out loud. But aside from it being on a Caribbean island what’s so special about the environment? It’s dry forest and rangeland. We’ve got thousands of square miles of that, again, right here.

The most critical point of all of this is the simple one: we don’t have the money. We don’t have the money, apparently, to take care of the parks we already have, hence the $9 billion backlog in park maintenance. It is absolutely irresponsible to pay out tens of millions of dollars to add to that burden and most especially for “parkland” the vast, vast majority of Americans will never have a chance to see. The article speaks of the current owners’ desire to sell the land to the government to keep it from being developed. Hey, no one is forcing them to develop their land. They can stop that right now and permanently simply by saying “no” to anyone who comes to their door with the plans for a new resort.

The Democrats who voted for this are the same people now telling you that they need to have more of your money and are busily raising their own credit limits. They tell you they’re the people that should be entrusted with stewardship of the country’s financial systems, production systems, energy systems, and health care systems. But then they pull stunts like this one. They’re teenagers let loose in the shopping mall with credit cards and they’re buying any shiny bauble that catches their eyes. Fortunately, the Senate isn’t under their complete control any more so there’s a chance this boondoggle with meet a swift end.

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5 comments

  1. Don’t you see that this island is the “getaway” for the congress critters once the revolution has begun?

  2. As far as the threat of development goes, the current owner(s) may not be able to afford the property, and needs to sell.

    How many $50M buyers are there out there who can afford to let it wholly remain in its “pristine” state?

    MUCH better to market it to the government as a “park” that will save it for “everyone” to enjoy—the government owns a legal printing press, after all.

    The point is NOT to procure usable parkland, but to amass unusable land, as in off-limits other than museum usage.

    Just as it is the point to decrease energy use, and thereby economic activity, and mobility, and so on.

    Why do you think the Parks Dept IS $9B in the hole?

    Because we’ve bought more land willy nilly for “the people” than we can already manage.

    And every single bit of it is special, unique and different, and most importantly, not ever nearly enough.

    This is not surprising.

    I am glad people are noticing, because the inability of the parks to manage their ever growing inventory has been ongoing for years. As has the growth of the inventory.

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