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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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September 16, 2004

Jobs in the park

A few days ago the U.S. Senate voted out a bill to expand Mount Rainier National Park by 800 acres of land along a river, and Sen. Maria Cantwell sent out a press release about it. (The press release didn’t mention that the park was already 235,612 acres, but never mind that.)

“Expanding Mount Rainier National Park will ensure that our children will be able to enjoy this majestic regional icon,” the senator said. “This expansion is also a win for our local economy.”

The economy?

The press release says: “According to a recent study conducted by Michigan State University, visitors to Mount Rainier spent over $24 million in 2001, supporting nearly 800 jobs and $13 million in personal incomes in communities surrounding the Park. In addition, it is estimated that Mount Rainier visitors spent $6.75 million at local restaurants and bars, and $5.5 million at regional lodging facilities.”

Why do we do this? That is, why do public figures so often feel compelled to offer economic justifications for things that aren’t economic? I hope and assume the 800 acres was purchased because it contained something that people wanted in the park. Why not just leave it at that?

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Posted by Bruce Ramsey at September 16, 2004 03:08 PM



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