22 October 2006

Opportunity lost at our National Parks

We visited the Shenandoah Valley National Park this weekend. What an awesome place to take in some fall foliage. Aside from an almost overwhelming display of color, what struck me most was the absolute waste of an opportunity. Standing in the lodge/giftshop/food-stop watching people look over the horrible merchandise, badly displayed made me want to scream. Granted I was here at a peak weekend, but still it was a giant opportunity missed.

Bad merchandise, poorly displayed, long lines and marginally competent service all add up to lost revenue. Now I am not suggesting that we whore out our National Park and create a Disneyland or Starbuck experience, but there were a lot of people there looking to spend money. Many suffered through he lines for marginal value, but most decided they could better sped their money elsewhere. The potential revenues from these near geographic monopolies could go towards further pars services. Get innovative or at least catch up! Put some design, business, operations and service skills to work and lower the taxpayer burden of these parks. We need to be proactive to insure their longevity.