Editorial

Wonder what $2.5 million in national park fees looks like?

Apparently, it looks like several military flyovers in Washington DC Thursday.

The flyovers were a part of President Donald Trump’s expanded Fourth of July salute to the military.

And, sounds like we’ll we spend that all over again next year, as he announced Monday he plans to repeat the event.

The announcement came as three Senate Democrats, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, call for an investigation into how much the party cost the nation’s taxpayers.

Just the flyovers alone were estimated to cost more than $500,000. And, last week, The Washington Post reported the National Park Service would shift $2.5 million in park fees to help cover the new spending.

How much good could even a portion of those park fees have done to benefit local people and visitors to our very own national park, Voyageurs?

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying our president doesn’t have the right to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. It’s been celebrated by presidents for years with an annual parade. But this year’s parade appeared more like a show of force than a celebration. This year, Trump added flyovers by Air Force One, the Navy’s Blue Angels, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, and a new type of helicopter along with other helicopters.

All this makes no sense in a nation that has a $12 billion maintenance backlog for our National Park Service.

We join with Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and others who seek cost estimates for the planning and execution of the events, including personnel, security, event logistics, production, travel, transportation, communications, and related costs, as well as any costs to address resource damage created by the events.

But that’s not all that’s needed to fully understand the consequences of this year’s event. The lawmakers also want historical data to use as a comparison.

Seems reasonable for a taxpayer-funded event meant for us all.

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