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Monday, June 24, 2024

National Park Service Outsources Website, Loses $140M

'Instead, these fees are lining the pockets of a multi-billion dollar consulting firm... '

(By Adam Andrzejewski, RealClear Wire) The U.S. National Park Service requires visitors to certain parks to obtain a vehicle pass, and charges a $2 reservation fee to book ahead of time. Unfortunately, the Park Service isn’t the one receiving most of this fee, thanks to their decision to outsource the system to a consulting firm.

Visitors reserve passes in advance on Recreation.gov, which isn’t run by the National Park Service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Instead, government consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton runs it as part of a five-year contract the National Park Service agreed to in 2018. Because of this agreement, Booz Allen Hamilton receives a portion of all fees.

Since 2019, the firm has invoiced the federal government for more than $140 million, far exceeding the $87 million it was projected to make when it signed the contract. The contract is up for renewal next year, meaning it could continue to profit off of this agreement for another five years.

The government has defended this arrangement, claiming this structure shifts the risk on Booz Allen Hamilton, and not the government. While this may be true, it’s hard to ignore that these hundreds of millions of dollars could be going towards hiring more park rangers, maintaining trails, and improving facilities if Parks did this work in-house, or changed the agreement to be more favorable to taxpayers.

Instead, these fees are lining the pockets of a multi-billion dollar consulting firm. Hopefully, when considering renewal of this contract, the government will demand more favorable terms so that park visitors’ fees are going toward preservation.

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