January 21, 2019
Dear Leader McConnell,
On behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, a non-profit organization representing over 1,600 current and former National Park Service employees, we urge you to do everything in your power to fully reopen our national parks and public lands by ending this government shutdown and passing appropriations for the Department of the Interior and other federal land management agencies.
As a group, the Coalition collectively represents more than 35,000 years of national park management experience. We believe that our national parks and related public lands represent the very best of America, and we advocate for effective and collaborative stewardship of them.
During this government shutdown, there have been numerous reports of damage to our irreplaceable resources at national parks that were directed to remain open. Destruction of iconic resources, widespread accumulation of trash and related habituation of wildlife, human waste on trails due to closed restrooms, vandalism of property, and destruction of habitat from off-road vehicle use have all been reported. Our parks will continue to suffer further, irreparable harm the longer this shutdown continues and the longer our parks remain partially open and largely unprotected.
In addition to the direct impacts suffered by our national parks and public lands, we have had to watch our federal employees suffer. We are fortunate to represent dedicated public servants who care deeply about the resources they protect and the people who visit them. Not only have they been unable to do their jobs, they do not know when they will next be paid or the extent of damage they will find once they get back to work.
For the good of our national parks and public lands, our NPS employees, and all the communities suffering from this shutdown, please take the necessary steps to reopen the Department of the Interior and the rest of the government.
Thank you for considering our views.
Chair, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks