Land Use

Shutdown Politics Closes Privately Funded Parks

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"All of us in the concession community feel like we're the victim of pretty high-stakes politics," says Eric Mart, founder and president of California Land Management Services Corporation, a private company that operates several hundred campground facilities, including some on land supervised by the U.S. Forest Service.

After the start of the federal shutdown, Mart received direction from the Forest Service to close down operations in their parks. This action left Mart and other private land-management companies confused and frustrated. His operations don't require any federal money to be spent and Forest Service lands aren't staffed by federal workers the way that national parks are. In fact, Mart's company and similar public-private partnerships actually pay the government a percentage of the revenue they raise from campsite and other fees.

"We are a tenant of the U.S. Forest Service," wrote Warren Meyer, who owns Phoenix-based Recreation Resource Management "A tenant does not have to close his business just because his landlord goes on a vacation."

About 3:30 minutes.

Produced by Sharif Matar.

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