Park Service ponders next 100 years

Laramie, Wyo. – The National Park Service is hosting a two-day meeting in Mammoth Hot Springs this week that will outline new ideas for the country's park system.

A national commission will hold the third of five meetings in Yellowstone through Wednesday. Spokesman Mike Bento says the goal is to form a vision for the Park System's second century of operation. He says many things have changed since Yellowstone became the nation's first national park more than 100 years ago.

"Today, population is coming right up to the border of national parks. It's changing the way the parks are preserved; it's changing the way the public interacts with them. And it's changing their importance. As there is less open spaces, these parks become even more important in the future."

Bento says the commission will discuss the way the park system is funded, the way science is conducted within park boundaries, and what role the parks can play in the education system. The group will meet twice more this year and offer suggestions for a renewed vision to Congress this fall.