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The National Park System Deserves Better

Release Date: 11/7/19

Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, released a statement in response to the recent report by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) on evaporating staff levels at the National Park Service (NPS).

“The agency figures released by PEER are incredibly concerning. This report confirms what we’ve known for years; the NPS is consistently handed inadequate levels of annual appropriations and is attempting to manage over 400 national park units with insufficient levels of staffing to truly protect our parks and our people.”

According to the PEER report, the number of full-time staff employed by the NPS has declined by 16%, or 3,500 full time positions, since 2011. This includes a decline in Park Protection staff of 20%, a decline in Visitor Services staff by 19%, and a drop in Resource Stewardship by 16%.

“In contrast to these steep declines in staffing level, visitation to national parks has increased,” says Francis. “This means that are fewer employees to protect our resources, ensure visitor safety, and provide visitor services.”

Francis also said that the “decline in staffing levels and the constant push for our NPS employees to ‘do more with less’ is taking its toll. In addition, Department of the Interior (DOI) employees are dealing with a consistent lack of leadership at the highest levels of the agency while also grappling with the ill-advised DOI reorganization. It’s no wonder the morale is so low.”