b'WCM: How in your view did the going to see with that is a tremen-U.S. so seriously lose track of its ob- dousinvestmentthroughouttheligation to more aggressively take countryonrecreation.Justthatcareofitspubliclandsthatthe piece is the most significant invest-Great America Outdoors Act needed ment in conservation funding ever.to be passed in the first place?And,so,thePresidenthadtheBernhardt: So, losing track would boldness to get this done. Its an un-be one way to look at it. The other believable achievement. The Senateway to look at it would be to say sim- within a month and a half movedply that the park service decided it forward with it. I actually thought, inhad bigger priorities than maintain- themiddleofCOVID,itcouldgoing the condition of its properties. sideways. They got it out of the Sen-It would be no different than if ate and then the House of Represen-you buy a house and you dont over tatives the day it went out withouttheyearsrepaintyourtrimorfix changing a single comma. In this dayyour shingles. Thats a choice. But and age, thats hard to do.eventually, itll bite you. Eventually, WCM: After all those years!you get a hole in your roof. And that Bernhardt: Yes, this was the kind ofreally is what happened. bill that people had been working onAnd I also think its almost a philo- The National Park Service is preparing for a wide range of projects at its campgrounds due to for up to 40 years. Presidents Rea-sophicalapproachbecausewhen funding provided through the Great American Outdoors Act. gan, Bush and Clinton were inter-you show up at a national park, in ested in it, and President Obama hadmy opinion, you want that place to someideasaboutit,butnoonelook spectacular. You want it to be invest this money wisely to provide was able to pass a bill like the GAOA could ever get it over the goal linetotally inviting. These are public re- an incredible experience for the vis- in the middle of a global pandemic because both parties had elementssources. These are the jewels of the itor. with all of the electoral noise thats that didnt like particular parts of thefederalgovernment,andnotonly And what that may mean is that been going on lately, isnt it? idea.that, theyre the jewels of the whole our campgrounds and parking lots Bernhardt: Its unbelievable, con- So, whoever went forward with itworld because the park service really shouldntcontinuetoreflectthe sideringtheinfrastructureinvest- hadtobewillingtosaytosomewas one of the greatest ideas ever. 1960s and a Rambler station wagon ment that we talked about. Thats members of their own party, Look,But if you show up and the weeds because you know what? Its hard to one and a half-billion dollars for five this is a priority, and were going toare high, and the sidewalks are all fit that modern Prevost (luxury mo- years. But on top of that, theres an- do it. And thats what this Presidentcracked, whats the image that you torhome)intothat1960station other $900 million every year forever did because he doesnt get stuck inwalk away with? And I think at its wagon space. Its actually hard for that will go for recreation activities the same way.heart, we have a President who has me to fit my Chevy Tahoe in there, to andforhabitatconservation,and WCM: Weassumetheressomean understanding of both hospitality tell you the truth. that money gets divided up between pressure to keep the focus on this, toand property management, and he WCM: Itsamazingwhenyou the states and federal land manage- follow through?really has an expectation that we will think about the fact that Congress ment organizations. So, what youre Q&A Conversationscontinued on page 32WOODALLSCM.com October 2020-29'