Alternative Funding Sources for Parks

Last month New Jerseyans voted to keep the Garden State Preservation Trust alive, committing the government to sell $400 million in bonds. This ballot referendum appeared as Public Question #1, and I blogged about it here. That post expressed concern about the amount of funding involved, and reviewed private sector activities that could defray the costs of maintaining our public parks.

More recently this article about National Parks and private research appeared in the news. Under this program, scientists conduct research in the parks and in turn they share a portion of the profits that comes from their research with the respective parks.

This program makes sense, but some object to this arrangement. Nay sayers insist this is tantamount to privatization. This position, however, seems exaggerated. In reality, the park lands are not sold to a private entity. On the contrary, these arrangements appear as a fiscally responsible funding alternative. Furthermore, this demonstrates creative, "outside-of-the-box" problem solving. Therefore, if the Garden State does not already have a similar program, it should follow this model.