No Money For Bridges, But Plenty for Luxury Hotels

Bald Eagle State Park HotelThe Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has completed its first luxury hotel at Bald Eagle State Park. While DCNR’s project represents good business sense — reaching out to individuals uncomfortable with camping — it just put taxpayers on the hook for $7.5 million if the investment fails. For anyone interested in staying at the hotel, rooms run from $135 to almost $350 on a weekend night.

Even if DCNR hadn’t threatened to close 50 state parks if its budget was cut last year, this investment would still be a bad deal for Pennsylvanians.

Services like hotels should be left to the private sector, thus private investors bear the burden if the investment flops — and taxpayers are force to subsidize hotel patrons.

Indeed, private companies want to lease state park operations and have a proven record of success doing it. Leasing contracts ensures expectations by the state are met, and debt responsibilities are no longer shouldered by taxpayers.

To learn more, check out this presentation by the president of Recreation Resource Management, a company that runs over 175 operations in National Forests and state parks.