Security at U.S. national parks and historic icons varies at each site with no coordination in place to ensure visitor safety, says a Government Accountability Office study critical of the National Park Service, says the Washington Post. Though officials are unaware of any specific threats, there are concerns that some sites could be targeted by terrorists for their symbolic nature. Threats could change in February when visitors will be allowed to carry firearms into national parks.
Despite improvements to its security plans since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Park Service still does not provide proper guidance on security planning or training at the 391 sites it operates, the GAO report says. It finds that the park service has failed to assign trained security personnel at most parks and historic sites and has not developed a coordinated way for the sites to share information or best security practices. Government investigators sampled the security at New York’s Statue of Liberty National Monument and African Burial Ground National Monument, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. and Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park.