Old Faithful - When Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Yellowstone to talk about National Parks funding Thursday, he addressed a small crowd of park employees. The public was blocked from the event, but he greeted some geyser watchers before he left.
During his address to Yellowstone Park and concessionaire employees, Old Faithful erupted behind him.
His event was timed to take advantage of the scene, and after he told his audience about the plan to fund 12 billion dollars in National Parks infrastructure needs.
He picked up a nail gun, and symbolically helped build a new board walk under construction next to the famous geyser. He also helped carry new boards over to the construction site, with a little help from the Secretary of the Interior.
But, Yellowstone visitors who had been blocked from the event by Yellow buses, Park Rangers, and yellow tape, got a surprise visit from the Vice President of the United States. There were about 30 people gathered around him. One woman stepped right up.
Jodi Dean from Louisiana said, “Went up to him, told him God Bless America. He’s doing a great job. We stand strong in Louisiana with him and Trump.”
We asked the geyser watchers if they noticed problems with the Park, things that needed to be fixed.
Meredith Sybesma from Michigan said, “So far things are great, but as we go further into the Park I think we may discover a few things, and I’m glad to hear that he’s supportive of helping our National Park System.”
But, away from the event, another woman had seen park needs in Yellowstone, and Glacier, where she recently visited.
Emily Brunner from Minnesota said, “I see needs. I think that the infrastructure is clearly from the 1930’s and 40’s. The lack of bathrooms.”
Brunner was not in support of the different funding model Pence proposed. She called it flimsy. And she was not in favor of the Trump budget’s proposed funding cuts to National Parks.
She remarked, “I would be disappointed in that. Last year we used the fourth grader program to go to some national parks to Acadia and that was really neat. And I know that that program got eliminated this year, and we were disappointed to hear that.”