Release of Long-Awaited Budget Report Confirms Impending Cuts Could Close National Parks & Impact Local Economies Nationwide

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   September 14, 2012
Contact:   John Garder, Budget and Appropriations Legislative Representative, National Parks Conservation Association, 202-329-7028, jgarder@npca.org
Shannon Andrea, Director of Media Relations, National Parks Conservation Association, 202-365-5912, sandrea@npca.org


Release of Long-Awaited Budget Report Confirms Impending Cuts Could Close National Parks & Impact Local Economies Nationwide

Washington, D.C.—A report released today by the Obama administration with details of across-the-board cuts to federal budgets scheduled for January confirms there would be a sizeable cut that would deeply damage the National Park System.   Released by the Office of Management and Budget, the report shows that an 8.2% cut to National Park Service accounts would lead to the loss of $218 million next year, which would devastate national park budgets and harm local economies nationwide.

“Make no mistake that if Congress fails to prevent this cut, national parks and local communities who depend on their business will suffer,” said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). “We are deeply concerned that this cut could lead to the closure of more than a hundred parks.”

NPCA says America’s national parks already suffer from an annual operations shortfall of $500 to $600 million, which means there are insufficient rangers and other staff to care for our national treasures and serve visitors. Park budgets have already been slashed over the last two years, and as Congress debates how to address the deficit, the report out today clearly indicates that our national heritage is at risk in the near future.

NPCA’s analysis indicates that the cut of $183 million to the operation of national parks would very likely lead to the furloughing—or indefinite closure—of national parks. A cut of this magnitude would also likely lead to the loss of many park rangers, particularly during the busy visiting season.   “Not only would the National Park Service have fewer rangers to educate visitors, plan visits, and respond to emergencies, but parks would not have the funding they need to adequately maintain hiking trails, protect wildlife, preserve historic buildings, or keep visitor centers and campgrounds open for visitors to enjoy,” said Kiernan.

According to Forbes magazine, national parks are a top tourist draw. The park service budget is also a very small part of the federal budget--as little as 1/14th of one percent. National parks support $31 billion in private-sector spending and 258,000 jobs each year.  And even in these challenging fiscal times, new poll results indicate that 92 percent of likely voters think that federal spending on national parks should be increased or kept the same. 

“Our national parks are at a crossroads. Making the right choice to invest in national parks will not only protect our national park legacy, but benefit local economies and communities nationwide,” said Kiernan.

As the National Park System approaches its centennial in 2016, and with the upcoming November election, NPCA says our national parks are at a turning point. This milestone offers a unique opportunity for our next President and Congress to leave their imprint by advancing the national park idea for the century to come, and enhancing its relevance to a new generation.

To view a new infographic about park funding challenges, visit:
http://my.npca.org/site/PageNavigator/infographic.html

To view the November 2011 comprehensive NPCA report on national park funding and the projected impact of the sequester, visit: http://www.npca.org/news/reports/made-in-america.html


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