[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)] [August 25, 1995] [Pages 1264-1265] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Remarks on the 79th Anniversary of the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming August 25, 1995 Hi, folks. Well, I'm sorry about the rain, but I want to tell you that Hillary and Chelsea and I are having a wonderful time here. I want to thank the Park Superintendent, Mike Findley, and all the people who work at Yellowstone for making our visit so nice, even with the rain. I wanted to make a couple of points today: 79 years ago today the Congress established the National Park Service to organize and preserve our natural heritage and to preserve our common environment. Last year at the 369 national parks, 270 million visitors came. That is an astonishing number. Yellowstone is the symbol of our national parks because it's the oldest one and the first one in the history of the world. And I came here today basically to make two or three points: First of all, I am committed to preserving these parks. There was an effort in Congress-- [applause]--there was an effort in Congress to cut the budget in a way that could have forced the closure of 200 of these parks. That's wrong. [[Page 1265]] There are some people who say we ought to just sell some of our natural treasures off to the highest bidder. And that's wrong. But I do think we need some reforms, and let me just mention two or three. Number one, I support keeping the fees that you pay when you come to the national parks in the parks. That's one of the things that we want to do so that the money can be used to preserve the parks. Secondly, we want to allow the national parks more flexibility to go out and raise money from private citizens to preserve, not to destroy, our natural heritage. And that's in the plan that we have given to Congress, and we hope that they will adopt it. And finally, we want to see the people who do business in our parks give a fairer share of that business back to the parks for the preservation of the people in the future, like the people who run this hotel do. And Mr. Findley's worked hard on that. We want more of that in the future. The last thing I want to say is this: We have a big stake in what you see around you here at Yellowstone. It's a part of what I call our common ground. And we should not do anything this year, anything, to weaken our ability to protect the quality of our land, our water, our food, the diversity of our wildlife, and the sanctity of our natural treasures. We can balance the budget without doing any of that, and that's the commitment all of us ought to make today on this anniversary of the National Park Service. Thank you, and God bless you all. Note: The President spoke at 1 p.m. at Old Faithful Lodge.