The PJ Tatler

Obama's Interior Secretary Touts Canadian Tourism to Boost US Economy

Where to start in fisking this pile of idiocy from Interior Sec. Ken Salazar? It’s a tough call, so I’ll start at the top.

President Obama has made it clear that job creation is, and must remain, front and center for his Administration day in and day out.

That was right before he went on a massively expensive vacation, and at the same moment his EPA is gearing up to cripple the economy.

With that in mind, I traveled to New England this week to highlight the economic power of outdoor recreation and tourism to create jobs. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year. And one in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers or teachers.

More than 12 million Americans hunt; more than 30 million Americans fish; and three out of four Americans engage in some kind of healthy outdoor activity.

And your point is? When one in six Americans who want a job can’t find one, hunting may become a bit more important than a recreational activity. It may become a matter of subsistence. If, that is, Mr. Salazar’s boss doesn’t find a way to seize all of our firearms.

A letter I recently received from a Canadian family shows just how big an impact tourism and recreation can have. The family spent 42 days on the road, exploring national parks across the U.S. Over the course of their travels, they stayed in motels and hotels, ate in restaurants and spent money in local businesses from coast to coast:

“Our family spent almost $20,000 on our trip,” the letter reads, “almost all of it at local stores and services as we traveled. Without the National Park Service, our destination would have probably been somewhere in Europe.”

Well, bully for them. Canada doesn’t have an administration putting its boot on the throat of its economy, so more Canadians than Americans can probably afford vacations. And really — hearing how great a time Canadians can have by trekking south is supposed to make us all feel better? Hey Canada, come south to see the unused oil rigs, and stay for the quaint Third World blackouts!

Many small and large businesses in New England are also key drivers of the outdoor economy. A store like LL Bean is a shining example of how a home-grown business can fulfill the American dream. What started almost 100 years ago as one man’s idea to sell a waterproof boot to hunters has grown into a company that today employs 5,000 people and generates 1.4 billion in revenue.

The most important part of that paragraph is when LL Bean started: more than 100 years ago. Back then you didn’t have an EPA and endlessly oppressive Washington bureaucrats kicking business in the family jewels. Try launching a business now, Mr. Salazar. I dare you. But talk to the founder of Home Depot first.

The businesses I visited this week — including L.L. Bean’s headquarters in Freeport, Maine, Bibens Ace Hardware in Colchester, Vermont, and Eastern Mountain Sports near Portsmouth, New Hampshire — demonstrate the power of outdoor recreation to create jobs and spur economic growth in communities both in New England and across our country. When we invest in conservation and encourage people to reconnect with nature, we aren’t just investing in the land, water, and wildlife we love, but also in our economic future.

If any US administration has published a more insulting and moronic piece of utter drivel, I haven’t seen it.

And another thing…Salazar touts the $20,000 the Canadians spent visiting American national parks. First, most Americans can’t afford a $20,000 vacation, so thanks for that little reminder. Also, I’m as big a fan of the National Park Service as anyone, but touting $20,000 spent in a system that costs Americans billions of dollars per year isn’t exactly economically astute. We’re not turning a profit here.