National Parks Conservation Association President Tom Kiernan to House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee: “investing in the national parks should be an American priority”

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 22, 2012
Contact:   Jeff Billington National Parks Conservation Association, 202-419-3717, jbillington@npca.org


National Parks Conservation Association President Tom Kiernan to House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee: “investing in the national parks should be an American priority”

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, NPCA President Tom Kiernan testified before Congress calling on them to provide more funding to the National Park System (NPS) and its rangers than the budget proposed by the Obama Administration. During his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, he expressed concern about the impact that additional cuts to the National Park Service (NPS) would have on the integrity of America’s most iconic places, especially when paired with how woefully underfunded the system already is.

“Providing adequate funding for the national parks is more than simply another expenditure; it is an investment in our nation’s future with tangible returns that are particularly significant now as we continue to try to recover from this long economic downturn.” Kiernan told the subcommittee. “We’ve noted before that for every federal dollar spent on the national parks, at least four dollars are generated in economic value to the public at large. Adequately funded national parks create jobs, sustainable businesses and vibrant communities.”

Kiernan pointed out that visitors to Yellowstone National Park spend about $334 million each year, supporting almost 5,000 jobs and that City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho, a much smaller park, supports 85 jobs through $6.3 million in visitor spending.

“But people won’t come to the parks if their experience isn’t enjoyable or if it’s marred by parks in poor condition and lacking necessary staff,” Kiernan said. 

Kiernan explained that the budget proposal recently released by the Obama Administration fails to meet the expectations that the American people have set for the national parks, especially in preparation for the 2016 centennial of the NPS. While the budget proposal keeps a flat overall budget, it would make cuts to base park operations.

“This proposed cut would result in the loss of more than 200 FTE, which depending on how those cuts are apportioned, could eliminate as many as 600 seasonal ranger positions,” Kiernan said. “It makes no sense to market our national parks to international visitors while cutting the funding necessary for the parks to serve those very visitors when they arrive. By taking care of our national parks through provision of adequate funding, we can continue to perpetuate well protected and maintained parks to serve the public for the next 100 years.”


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