???|egregious, wasteful, and otherwise questionable expenses to the National Park System.??
This is how U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma described 37 specific sites listed under the National Park Service in his October 2013 report, ??PARKED! How Congress' Misplaced Priorities are Trashing Our National Treasures.??
In his report, the Republican Coburn mentions the Copper Country??s very own Keweenaw National Historical Park and Isle Royale National Park as two of these wastes of government money.
Coburn wrote the KNHP has been used by politicians to gain power, stating, ??What is certain is the area has moved from mining copper to mining federal largess,?? and calls Isle Royale ineffective due to its inaccessibility to the public and low yearly visitation rates.
He said these and other parks are creating a backlog of $11.5 billion in deferred maintenance, and that in doing so, it is taking money away from what he says are the more significant ??crown jewels?? of our country, like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Independence Hall.
Isle Royale National Park officials declined to comment, but the National Park Service responded by stating, "We will review Senator Coburn??s report. The National Park Service appreciates the Senator??s interest in national parks and the work that the National Park Service does with communities across the country.??
Calumet native, Representative Scott Dianda, 110th District, countered Coburn??s statements saying, ??It is clear that growing up in a place like Oklahoma has robbed the senator of any ability to imagine the natural, rugged beauty of Isle Royale and the Keweenaw.?? Dianda also delivered a letter to Coburn personally inviting him to visit the Keweenaw to see its beauty.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D- Mich, has also been cited, stating, "Preserving natural treasures, including our wilderness areas and our important cultural legacies, isn??t a mistake."
Coburn??s 200-plus page thrashing ends saying he isn??t setting out to compare significance of the various parks, but to stir up discussion on how to better appropriate money within the National Park System and ultimately push the country out of tremendous debt.
As of yet, the senator has not replied to the invitation, but Dianda said, ??Visitors who do make the trip never fail to come away with a sense of awe.??
Click here to read Sen. Coburn??s full report.