Parsimoniously underfunded, the park needs money and user fees. High-end visitors are a sustainable cash pipeline. Enthusiastic guests from around the world should be well compensated by better visitor services and reduction of overcrowding during the "peak season." This seems like a new policy based upon market-driven eco-tourism, a form of "environmental capitalism". Thankfully, low-impact local people with senior or annual passes are relatively unaffected.
As Yellowstone's former NPS research permit coordinator (1990's) and later, financial services technician, I had the opportunity of drafting the very first Intellectual Property Rights Agreement between the NPS and the private sector concerning "benefits sharing" from patenting and on-line sale of the parks' rare hot springs microbes, the Thermophiles.
Twenty years later, where did the money go? What about the "benefits" such as entrance fee mitigation?
The estimated trillion-dollar Thermus aquaticus story, also an example of "environmental capitalism" is presented in my new book "Laboratory Yellowtone & the DNA Revolution" Chapter 7: "Follow the money" explains the macroeconomic scenario, from Dr. David Gelfand, the U.S. patent owner of PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The 1989 Nobel-Prize winning enzymatic amplification of DNA.
It seems that the park's entire annual budget, for this year, and for the past 22 years has been fully funded by the federal income taxes generated by his new industry (PCR-DNA fingerprinting) made possible by our tiny hot water microbe, Thermus aquaticus or (Taq). Science and research from the past have come to fruition and pays everyone's entrance fees/dues. (Theoretically).
Although it is commendable, federal funding through Congress, is only giving us back recycled money generated by Taq.