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. The current Fiscal Year 2015 funding level for national parks is vastly insufficient to bring parks back to where they were, and where they need to be—especially in advance of the 2016 centennial. There has been more than a 7%, or $173 million reduction in the account to operate national parks and more than a 12%, or $370 million reduction in the total budget for the National Park Service over the last five years in today’s dollars. Also, over the last decade, there has been a 62% or $227 million decline in today’s dollars in the park service construction account, directly contributing to the $11.5 billion deferred maintenance backlog.
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 or shorten their hours; decrease the number of rangers that protect and maintain parks; and limit the number of educational programs. NPCA’s fact sheet highlights what the National Park Service needs so all park sites can be open and fully functional.
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.
Updated: September 24, 2015