Frankly, Mr. President. Do You Give a Damn?

Our national parks need your help.

Dear President-Elect,

Last year, the NPCA (National Parks Conservation Association) graded the 48 National Parks on 3 things. Air quality, Visibility, and Change in climate. Of the 12 most affected by this, all of the parks received at least one D grade, most of them at least one F. National Parks are the jewels of this great country and are being smothered by human pollution that must be stopped to keep their beautiful ecosystems alive.

A tradition in my family is to always go up to Sequoia National Park when it snows and sled, make snow people, have snowball fights, and cross the log bridges to the other side of the creek. Last year, there was noticeably less snow, and of the little amounts of snow that was there, was so icy we couldn’t sled, have snowball fights, or make snow people. The creek was so big and wide from all the melted snow that there were no logs big enough to cross it. This year, I can’t imagine how little snow there will be. Now, a tradition that had gone on for years, lost, to the poor conditions we leave these beautiful parks in. The quiet, tranquil places we go to relax, are now no better than the big cities we came from.

Some of our most beloved parks such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, and Grand Canyon National Park have been plagued by smog from nearby industrial cities, oil drilling around the perimeter, and haze over the beautiful mountains. Pesticides and other pollution from nearby agricultural and industrial areas are leaking into the national parks near them, destroying their natural beauty. Fracking near Yellowstone is becoming more and more of an issue. At Theodore Roosevelt National Parks there is roughly 50 miles of scenery covered by smog and haze from the juxtapositioning of oil drills and power plants all around the outside. At the beloved Great Smoky Mountains National Parks the conditions are no better. During the most busy time of year, summer, the visibility conditions are estimated to be around 7 miles on a good day. Without haze and smog, there is an estimated 35-40 miles of scenery people are missing out on. And perhaps the most disappointing of all, at the Grand Canyon National Parks 9 out of 10 days visitors can not see the other side of the 10 mile wide canyon, because it is covered in smog from the nearby city of Los Angeles. Yellowstone’s generous amounts of sagebrush that was home to 100 kinds of birds and 70 different kinds of mammals such as innocent moose and deer, is almost completely destroyed. Also, the animals that do survive can end up eating or getting caught in trash and die. If we don’t do something, these beautiful creatures will be lost to time.

Ways you can help this dire cause are quite simple. Although you are a businessman and I am sure you know what is best for the economy, you can help promote bills to make it illegal to frack and drill for oil around perimeters of parks. Although it will be very hard to completely eradicate pollution in nearby cities, we can help to make the situation a little bit better. Anything will help. Yes, we need the farms nearby the parks, but we need to be more careful with containing the harmful pesticides we use so they do not leak into the parks.

So my question to you, Mr. President, is how will you change this terrible fate we have brought upon these parks due to our great country? Are you really going to leave these gems to rot and die off? Will you let the last sanctuaries for the majestic creatures that dwell here die a slow and painful death? These burdens are now in your hands. What will you do, to protect them?

Thank You for your Time,

Ande Arend