Seldom does one have the opportunity to heap praise on any part of the government or, for that matter, see it actually fix a problem.
Last Tuesday, the National Park Service was that happy exception.
The service released the revised contract for the next concession in Glacier National Park that assures the preservation of the Red Buses, just as acting Superintendent Kym Hall promised Jan. 30.
As the task of preparing the revisions seemed to drag on, many of the hundreds throughout North America who were closely following developments were concerned that the measures to be taken by the Park Service would fall well short of expectations after all the bureaucrats and lawyers were finished.
Happily, we find that the modifications to the concession documents greatly exceed our expectations to preserve Glacier's beloved red buses during the coming contract and into the distant future.
Measures specified in the contract will establish a special fund from the revenue gained by the concessionaire to rehabilitate any bus needing attention for the indefinite future, well beyond the 16-year duration of the next contract. Other specifications concerning the routine maintenance of the buses should assure that the buses will need minimal attention in the next two or three decades to continue to be roadworthy and safe for touring the park by our children and grandchildren, as they were for our parents and grandparents.
By eliminating a minimum specified amount for rehabilitating or replacing each bus, the Park Service also limited the cost to work that might actually be needed — a strategy that will likely prove more economical for the next concessionaire, while assuring that funds needed for major work on the buses are always readily available.
With this strategy adopted by the Park Service, we can reasonably expect to enjoy these 1930s vintage red buses for many decades — perhaps another 77 years,
In particular, thanks to Virginia Sloan in Sen. Tester's office and Kirby Campbell-Rierson in that of Sen. Baucus who both worked hard to help assure this outcome.
Bruce Austin, Nye, Mont.
Leroy Lott, Garland, Texas
Ray Djuff, Calgary, Alberta