Personal Stories

Save our Parks & Our Students! “SPOS”

Great Beyond

I was on vacation this weekend and I felt blessed to live in the glorious California.  Driving on the interstate, I took advantage of visiting the marsh fields of Sonoma County.  I drove by countless cows and sheep in fields.  I saw beautiful vine after vine of grapes.  Traveled to parts of the Bay Area to view the wonders of water.  At night, I would just languish leisurely with my Husband, just resting.  It was during this respite that I watched a report on NBC Nightly News.  It bothered me so much, that I had to talk about it part of the time on my way home today.  I just don’t understand why more people are not concerned, up in arms and sounding alarms.   Please watch the report below FIRST!

National parks show signs of wear and tear – May 27, 2013

USFS Region 5

We as citizens have not demanded enough to keep our parks clean, safe and beautiful.  The decline has been not since the “Sequester.”  It has been a STEADY decline for at least a decade or more.  Part-time jobs are cut.  Rangers have been furloughed for days at a time.  We need the Rangers so that we are safe, along with the animals as well.  This story really bothers me because I remember as a child going to the National (and State) Parks – enjoying camping, fishing, taking hiking tours, enjoying the ocean and forests.  I want our children, grandchildren and beyond to have that same benefit.  It’s disheartening to see parks either closing and/or are in such disrepair that no one can enjoy them.  It’s NOT just the Governments responsibility to support and care for the parks but it’s ours as well.


On my way home today – I had a FLASH of an idea.  Bare with me and hear me out.  I think it would be a GREAT idea and CAN work.  As we all know, the student debt is absolutely crippling folks.  Parents, current and former students are suffering with large interest payments.  Huge burdens along with normal things that one must pay for i.e., rent, electricity, food, gas – you name it.  How about this:  Students who have debt from school can have the ability to WORK it off.  How?  By volunteering each summer until their college is complete to the National and/or State Park system.  If a student had “enormous” debt , then that student could give 6 months after your degree to volunteering.

To be honest, I do not know WHY AmeriCorps has not done such a program sooner?  Why couldn’t this idea be added to the “Environmental Stewardship” program?   Of course, there would need to be some way that students could stay near the park i.e, stay in cabins located in specific parks around the nation etc….but it could be done.  It could absolve a student from either all and or a large majority of their debt.  Imagine that with all of the help that they could offer three to six months out of the year, we could re-hire some Park Rangers so that they can monitor the parks.  I can’t imagine a more win-win situation for everyone involved.

drurydrama (Len Radin)

This topic has bothered me terribly.  I want to be part of the solution.  I want someone to pay attention.  It’s gotten me so riled up, that I created a petition on the White House website.  Yes, the White House in D. C.  I think it’s a fantastic idea and it could work.  If you want to take part, please hit the link below.   Don’t do it for me because I am whining about it, do it for your kids, future kids, grandchildren, the Bears in the park – for anyone who wants to continue to enjoy America’s wonders.

joseph a

White House Petition – Allow students to work off Student Debt at National Parks

Thank you.