In response to ignorance about the jewel of the national park system

An incredibly ignorant letter to the editor appeared in today’s issue of the Bloomington Pantagraph calling for privatizing Yellowstone National Park and opening it up to investment for things such as timber harvesting. 
My letter in response.

To the editor:

The letter about Yellowstone from March 4 is short-sighted and ignorant. Yes, there is limited lodging in Yellowstone, and narrow 2-lane roads. The National Park Service efficiently manages the park’s 3 million annual visitors and provides an appropriate balance between human interaction and the wildlife that exist in its near-wilderness state. The letter writer wants Yellowstone to become the Wisconsin Dells, complete with road-side zoos, water parks, and luxury hotels. He apparently thinks we should also open the park’s pristine forests for timber harvesting, perhaps to reduce the threat of wildfire?

It is only when Yellowstone is experienced from off those two-lane roads that you can truly appreciate its wonder. Venture beyond Old Faithful or the overlooks of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and hike the Hayden Valley’s backcountry in the midst of the great Yellowstone caldera. The park’s majesty is revealed when you encounter a free-roaming herd of bison or elk in their natural environment, or go on a hunt for backcountry thermal mud pots. It all comes into focus when you climb Mt. Washburn, only to slowly detour around the rocky mountain big horn sheep that make the summit their home, before viewing the entire Yellowstone basin. In the Yellowstone Dells the letter writer proposes, that would all be lost. Yellowstone is a jewel of the national park system. It is protected and well managed. It is not the Dells, and thank God for that. 

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