Standing on a scenic cattle ranch in the battleground state of Washington yesterday, GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush pledged that he would increase funding for national parks by $3.75 billion over the next five years so that the parks could tackle a major maintenance backlog. “A Clinton-Gore administration has chosen to expand the public ownership of land instead of tending to our parks,” Bush said, obliquely criticizing President Clinton for protecting millions of acres of Western land by designating new national monuments. Bush also promised to protect wildlife by working with landowners, and highlighted a public-private partnership that aims to restore salmon populations in Washington’s Skykomish River. Bush reiterated his opposition to breaching four dams on the lower Snake River to help salmon, and criticized Vice President Al Gore for refusing to stake out a position on the issue.

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