Hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is a relatively new extraction method that is now responsible for 90 percent of domestic oil and gas production, with thousands of wells peppering the countryside. The number of wells is expected to skyrocket during the next two decades. The Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States has 2,119 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 25.2 billion barrels of crude oil recoverable through fracking. What will history say about this innovation? What will the impacts be on America’s public lands—especially our cherished national parks?
For years, the National Park Service has not received the funding it needs to maintain America’s iconic historic buildings, monuments, roads, and other structures in its care. The maintenance backlog for historic structures in the National Park System―the amount of work needed to restore these resources to good condition―is estimated at about $3 billion. While it is critical that Congress and the President meet their obligation to provide funding to maintain and interpret historic structures, there are also alternative strategies that parks can employ to help care for these irreplaceable resources. The Center for Park Research produced this guide for park and preservation advocates to use in sharing information about these alternatives, advocating for their consideration in park planning processes, and building community support for them as a means to preserve and interpret historic structures that often have a strong connection to local communities.
This report highlights the successful and critical role that the National Park Service plays in restoring the Great Lakes, safeguarding public health, creating jobs, and protecting these special places belonging to all Americans.
In this report, NPCA’s Center for Park Research and the California Desert Field Office document the recent rise in solar technology and development; identify areas in the American Southwest that are currently being targeted for industrial-scale solar developments; and examine the effects such developments would have on desert resources, particularly within national parks in the region. The Center and California Desert Field Office also suggest solutions for minimizing harm to fragile desert resources while encouraging appropriate siting of solar energy developments on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“Pathways to Prosperity” chronicles the experiences of business owners and economic developers, asking the simple question, “Why do you choose to live and work in the Crown?” The answer – lakes, mountains, wildlife – is universal. And once we recognize what we value about a place – what makes it special – we can work to protect it.
The National Parks Conservation Association recently released a report, “Avoiding a Risky Gamble with America’s National Parks,” outlining in disturbing detail the economic and environmental risks of allocating up to 2.5 million acres of public lands in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado for commercial leases for oil shale and tar sands development, which is currently being considered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
On Friday, April 13th, NPCA and fellow members of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition released the Wilderness Battlefield Gateway Study that demonstrates how protection of our sacred places and economic growth can coexist is a planned complimentary manner.
Cleaning up the Haze: Protecting People and America’s Treasured Places asks EPA to drop its proposed BART rule exemption so that our country’s most iconic natural places are fully protected from unsightly and unhealthy air.
In December 2011, the National Parks Conservation Association, Houston Wilderness and Rice University’s SSPEED Center commissioned Harbinger Consulting Group to conduct a study to evaluate the potential economic impacts of the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area in Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston and Matagorda counties along the upper Texas Gulf Coast.
“Protecting Our Chesapeake, Protecting Our National Parks” explores two historical parks in the Chesapeake watershed, Colonial National Historical Park on the James and York rivers and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on the Patapsco River. It recounts what the rivers looked like before significant agricultural practices, oyster harvesting, and extensive human development. It recommends options to restore the Chesapeake Bay and their national parks to a highly productive ecosystem with cleaner water, fewer toxic contaminants, and more abundant aquatic and terrestrial life. Our national parks help us recognize what has been lost and so help us see what we have the opportunity to regain.
America’s national parks drive local economies, provide quality jobs and affordable family vacations, and protect irreplaceable resources, all for a tiny fraction of our federal budget. But now our nation’s greatest places face significant long-term funding cuts which could mean trouble for many iconic parks—as well as the rangers, visitors, and wildlife who enjoy them.
This report provides the most comprehensive overview ever conducted on resource conditions in America’s national parks. A decade in the making, The State of America’s National Parks analyzes 80 national parks across the country to gauge how America’s most precious places are faring in the face of pollution, invasive species, climate change, energy development, adjacent land development, and chronic funding shortfalls.
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) commissioned a study—conducted by the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio—to comprehensively examine the economic impact of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and ensure the adequate preservation, protection and interpretation of our nation’s largest collection of Spanish colonial resources. The study was funded with assistance from Bexar County, Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Western National Parks Association. Using an input-output model, the economic assessment found that San Antonio’s historic missions provide a tremendous economic impact for surrounding communities.
This report by NPCA’s Center for Park Research identifies the effects that large dams have on natural and cultural resources in Dinosaur National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Grand Canyon National Park. The report also considers the economic value of national parks as well as the economic value of hydropower generated by large dams in the Colorado River Basin.