Colorado's U.S. Senate, House Candidates Agree: National Parks Need More Funding

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 25, 2002
Contact:   Tara Harmon, Americans for National Parks, cell: 303-898-4615


Colorado's U.S. Senate, House Candidates Agree: National Parks Need More Funding

Denver, CO - At a town hall meeting in Denver last night, representatives of seven of the candidates running for the U.S. Senate and Colorado’s 1st Congressional District, as well as representatives of the Americans for National Parks campaign, the Colorado Archaeological Society, and the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, spoke about the challenges facing America’s national parks and agreed that the parks require additional funding.

“[The Senator] has supported efforts to fully fund the parks and will continue to do so,” John Swartout, deputy campaign manager for Republican incumbent, Senator Wayne Allard, told the crowd of 30 people at the Metropolitan State College of Denver on Thursday night. Americans for National Parks and the Metro State College Political Science Association sponsored the meeting to which all candidates were invited.

Will Shafroth with Tom Strickland’s campaign for U.S. Senate said, “We have not, as a country, taken care of our national parks adequately,” and affirmed the candidate’s pledge to support increased funding for the national parks.

“The Americans for National Parks campaign is working to ensure that the National Park Service can protect and preserve these places for generations to come,” said the campaign’s National Field Manager Marcia Lesky.

Research has shown that Rocky Mountain and all of America’s national parks are operating, on average, with only two-thirds of the funding needed, creating a wide variety of critical needs ranging from deteriorating infrastructure to the dwindling of wildlife species. Museum artifacts and archaeological sites are not being preserved, public education programs are being reduced, and irreplaceable historic structures are crumbling.

“Congress needs leadership,” said Chris Arend, representative of Diana DeGette, Democratic incumbent for District 1. “People who are willing to take risks to protect our national parks.”

“Why do we spend more money on defending this nation than we spend on the nation?” asked District 1 Green Party candidate Ken Seaman.

The coalition of Americans for National Parks includes more than 250 private businesses, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations from Colorado and across the country, working with Congress and the administration to address the parks’ $600-million annual operating shortfall. The Continental Divide Trail Alliance, which also presented at the town hall meeting, is a coalition member.

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