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For release: March 5, 2023
Contact: Emily Thompson

Coalition Concerned Over Impending NPS Budget Cuts

House and Senate Appropriations Committees finally released several appropriations bills, which will need to pass the full House and Senate this week to prevent a partial government shutdown. One of the six bills passed by committees includes the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill that funds the National Park Service (NPS).

Total NPS appropriations for FY 2024 would be $3.32 billion, which is a $150 million reduction from FY 2023 levels. This means the NPS will start out at a deficit to maintain current staffing levels.

Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement regarding the FY 2024 bill:

“We are pleased that Congress has come to an agreement that will likely avert a government shutdown. And we are appreciative that numerous harmful amendments that would have been detrimental to our national parks were rejected. However, we are disappointed that the increases requested by the President were not passed and that further reductions in the number of employees who are available to protect park resources, provide visitor services, and care for park infrastructure are inevitable.

Over the years, the number of NPS employees available to operate our national parks fully and safely has declined by over 3,000 positions while visitation to national parks has increased. The FY 2024 cuts, added to losses the NPS has suffered over the years, will certainly harm the already low morale of our dedicated NPS employees.

NPS employees have been asked to do more with less for far too long. It’s way past time for Congress to acknowledge the importance of our national parks and public lands. Not only do these spaces contribute over $50 billion in economic output and over 375,000 jobs, they tell the stories of our nation’s history and protect our irreplaceable natural and cultural resources.

Special funding to address the backlog of maintenance needs and address critical ecosystem resilience, restoration, and environmental planning, has certainly been welcome. But we must invest in the day-to-day operations that are essential to meeting the mission and purpose of our National Park System.

While we recognize that the numbers could have been worse, we are very concerned about the proposed cuts to the FY 2024 budget and the negative impacts these cuts will have on our national parks and public lands.”

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