While many park authorities have allowed private companies to operate gift shops or rental concessions within parks, private management of entire parks under concession agreement is relatively new but growing rapidly. As state and local governments come under increasing budget pressures, private management of public parks can be a useful tool for public authorities trying to keep parks open for the public. A great introduction to this model is here. Here is an example private park operator.
Private recreation operators aren’t trying to take ownership of the land. They aren’t trying to pave the wilderness. They aren’t trying to build condos in front of Old Faithful. They are in fact willing to accept whatever recreation mission or preservation mission the public owner of the park sets and manage the park to that mission. What they bring to the table is that in many cases, private companies can operate the park and keep it open with the fees paid at the gate, without big price hikes and without the need for taxpayer subsidies.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How does private park management work?
- Does the private company take ownership of the park?
- How does the private company get paid?
- How does this help keep parks open?
- Won’t private companies just let the facility run down to make more profit?
- Won’t private companies just build a McDonald’s in front of Old Faithful?
- Will private companies jack up the entrance fees?
- Won’t private companies just claim all the good parks and leave the money losers with the government?