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State & Regional

Congress Debating Adding More National Parks to Country

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National Park Service

After a record-breaking summer at national parks like Yellowstone, some officials say creating more parks will help solve overcrowding. But many park advocates say there are better solutions, like increasing funding and hiring more staff. 

The idea to establish more national parks isn’t new to our region. Twice before, Utah Representative Chris Stewart introduced legislation to establish a sixth national park in his state. 

Now, adding more parks across the country is being considered as a potential solution to long lines and overrun facilities. 

“I’ve got mixed feelings about it, to be completely honest with you.” 

That’s Phil Francis. He’s with the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. He says while more lands need to be protected, the parks are already underfunded. So adding more of them could create additional stress on the budget. 

“There's a whole long list of things that might be done to help.” 

He says that includes hiring more staff, and encouraging visitors to check out the less popular national parks.

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.