I was on Huffington Post Live the other day in a panel discussion on privatizing National Parks. The link to the video and comments is here.
None of the panelists, including me, advocated for privatizing National Parks. The whole point of public lands, as I have written on this site before, is to change the decision-making calculus around development of and access to these lands from net present value to broader access and more natural settings. In other words, no one wants a McDonalds in front of Old Faithful.
What I did advocate for, as discussed starting around the 7 minute mark, is for privatization of certain operational tasks, from bathroom cleaning to maintenance to landscaping, in order to reduce costs. Already, the high cost of using civil service employees to perform these tasks are crowding out things like maintenance and renovation.
On a related note, today in Phoenix I am participating in a series of meetings to see if Arizona can create a program where savings from privatized operations can be banked to help fund infrastructure renovations in the parks.