Friday, June 17, 2016

Hurting for Cash, U.S. National Park Service Turns to Companies

The elevators that will carry President Barack Obama 750 feet down into the caves of Carlsbad Caverns are working again, just in time for the first family’s visit this week to the national park. Out of service all year until last month, the elevators were part of the National Park Service’s growing backlog of overdue maintenance projects. As Obama travels to New Mexico and California to mark the 100th anniversary of the park service, he’ll find that one of the government’s most popular programs, with a record 307 million visitors last year, is showing its age: a record $12 billion in deferred maintenance. That backlog has grown during Obama’s presidency as Congress has refused to increase funding for the nation’s parks. The park service increasingly looks to corporate sponsorships and licensing deals with companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, American Express Co. and Subaru of America Inc. to help defray its costs. “It’s old and cantankerous,’’ park service spokesman Jeffrey Olson said of the elevator system at Carlsbad Caverns. “And there are things like that all over the park service.’’...more

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