|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||November 21, 2002|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller, Americans for National Parks, 202-454-3332|
Thousands Tell President Bush to Fund National Parks
Washington, D.C. - Thousands of people today called the White House, asking the president to keep his campaign pledge and fund the needs of the national parks as part of a national call in day organized by the bipartisan coalition of Americans for National Parks.
“The American public wants our national parks protected,” said Americans for National Parks Campaign Director, Jennifer Coken. “The administration is not on track to meet the president’s campaign pledge to eliminate the maintenance backlog and has not focused sufficient attention and resources on addressing the long-term cause of the backlog—inadequate funding for the day-to-day operating needs of the parks.”
National call in day events were held in several states, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington. Officials estimate that several thousand calls were made to the White House.
Research has shown that the national parks are operating with only two-thirds of the funding needed, creating a wide variety of critical needs ranging from deteriorating infrastructure to the loss of wildlife. Museum artifacts and archaeological sites are not being preserved, education programs are being cut, and irreplaceable historic structures are crumbling.
An October omnibus survey of top congressional staffers revealed that an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans agree that President Bush should fulfill his campaign promise to provide $4.9 billion to “restore and renew America’s national parks.” A representative Internet-based survey of 155 Senate and House staffers, the survey, called the Congressional e-Cloakroom, is a bipartisan research partnership of Market Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.
The coalition of Americans for National Parks includes more than 280 private businesses, government municipalities, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations from across the country. The group is working with Congress and the administration to address the parks’ $600-million annual operating shortfall.