Best of the West: Past offers ideas for current NPS woes, hibernating bear livestream, western cities top U.S. News list

The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting April 9, 2018, that you don't want to miss. Images: National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) currently faces a $12 billion price tag just for deferred maintenance. There are at least three proposals being floated in Congress for tackling that backlog, but experts agree a swift solution is elusive.

Perhaps today's decision-makers would benefit from looking to the past. Specifically, they might consider “Mission 66,” a billion-dollar plus plan launched in 1956 by the NPS to reverse decades of decline in the park system.

The latest story in the High Country News series “Reckoning with History” details the work and notes that some aspects of the “Mission 66” plan drew challenges from the likes of Ansel Adams, who thought it would over-commercialize iconic western destinations such as Yosemite National Park. By the time of the plan’s completion in 1966, the decade-long project had upgraded facilities that helped protect the parks and played a role in visitation doubling to 133 million. Learn more.

West Best Again: U.S. News & World Report just released its "125 Best Places to Live in the USA" and, to no one’s surprise at WGA, western cities dominate the list. Austin is No. 1, followed by Denver and Colorado Springs. Portland and Seattle also are included in the top 10 of the project, which evaluates cities using data on jobs, affordability and quality of life. See the list.

XPRIZE Update: Ten teams are finalists in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition, which seeks solutions that make profitable products from carbon dioxide. The finalists from India, China, Scotland, Canada and the U.S. were revealed this week by Marcius Extavour, who discussed XPRIZE at WGA’s 2016 Annual Meeting. Each group has shown in a lab they can use carbon dioxide from power plants to make products such as concrete. Meet the finalists.

Automated World: The head of the Institute for New Economic Thinking said this week that it's not a question if all work can be automated, but when all work will be automated. Learn which occupations will (and won't) be automated and visit the Western Governors' Workforce Development Initiative to learn more about today’s evolving workplace.

Bearly Awake: A black bear in Glacier National Park has become something of an internet sensation since March 23, when cameras first captured it looking out of a hole in the trunk of a cottonwood tree. Since then hundreds of thousands have watched a livestream to see if the bear will end its hibernation. See what's up with the sleepy bear by watching the livestream now. Nothing going on? Watch a short 'action' clip here.

Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


sign up for our newsletters