The National Park Service, which has long struggled with underfunding, has been crippled by compounded budget cuts over recent years. This pattern threatens the long-term protection of our national treasures and the countless local economies that depend on American and international visitors having a safe and inspiring experience. This year, the fiscal year 2014 federal budget brought some relief from the damaging cuts, but it has been insufficient to bring parks back to where they were, and where they need to be—especially in advance of the 2016 Centennial.
The budget to operate national parks has been cut nearly eight percent, or nearly $190 million in today’s dollars, compared to just four years ago; national parks also suffer from an annual operations shortfall of more than a half-billion dollars. Recent cuts have forced national park superintendents to delay the opening of parks or park roads; close visitor centers, picnic areas, and campgrounds; decrease the number of rangers to protect and maintain parks; and limit the number of educational programs. NPCA’s fact sheet highlights the impact of these damaging cuts to parks across the country.
The president’s proposed Centennial Initiative starts our national parks on the road to recovery, but it needs your help to become a reality. Take action to support increased park funding so that rangers can return to parks to address overdue maintenance needs, protect America’s treasured places, and ensure a memorable experience for all visitors.