|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||April 29, 2007|
|Contact:||David Nimkin, NPCA Southwest Regional Director, 801-518-1270
Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332
First Lady's Visit Brings Needed Attention to National Parks
National Parks Conservation Association Says National Parks Should be a National Priority
We are delighted that First Lady Laura Bush is visiting Zion National Park today. Her personal passion and support for our national parks is an inspiration to all Americans who cherish our natural and cultural heritage. She has helped to encourage young people to embrace learning opportunities in these living classrooms through the Junior Ranger program, and has brought needed attention to the wonders of our National Park System, and their continuing needs.
The Administration’s new National Park Centennial Initiative, which includes a proposed operating increase of more than $200 million for parks in the 2008 budget, is an important step that will put rangers back into our parks to protect these natural and cultural treasures, and educate and inspire visitors. For instance, the Administration’s budget requests an additional $901,000 for Zion, a 14 percent increase over the park’s fiscal year 2006 operating budget.
But this only represents a down payment on what must be a multi-year, multi-pronged effort to restore Zion and all of our parks, which now suffer from an operating shortfall in excess of $800 million annually.
With the centennial of the National Park System now less than 10 years away, we have an important opportunity to restore our beloved but beleaguered parks. Taking care of our national parks should be a national priority. We are pleased the nation’s First Lady is taking steps to support that idea, and we join in welcoming her to Zion National Park.