Statement of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is alarmed at the extent the National Park Service’s budget will be reduced should the President’s budget be adopted. While we have not seen how the Interior Department’s overall 11.7% cut will be allocated between agencies within Interior, should a cut of that magnitude be levied against the NPS and its parks, there will by widespread reductions in programs, operating hours, seasonal and permanent staff, and visitor services. Never before have cuts of this magnitude been made. These cuts are extreme and will result in the degradation of park resources owned by all Americans. These cuts will impact economies of local communities and businesses as parks will be forced to close facilities and shorten visitor seasons. For every dollar spent on park operations, more than $10 is returned to local communities, which provides critical jobs for thousands of Americans. These jobs are vital and must be preserved. While there is a proposed increase in dollars for deferred maintenance, daily maintenance operations essential to the health and welfare of park visitors and resources would be cut and staff reduced. These extreme cuts will be devastating to what some have called America’s best idea. We urge Congress to protect our parks for future generations and ensure that many of our country’s most precious resources are taken care of.
Maureen Finnerty, Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks