Press Release Mar 11, 2019

President’s Budget Proposal Damaging to National Parks as They Continue to Recover from Government Shutdown

If enacted, the President's budget would jeopardize the protection, maintenance and operation of our more than 400 national parks across the country.

WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration’s budget plan for 2020 proposes serious cuts to the National Park Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that if enacted, would jeopardize the protection, maintenance and operation of our more than 400 national parks across the country.

The budget calls for a total cut of $481 million to the National Park Service budget, including a $77 million cut to the Park Service’s already inadequate operating budget. This would result in the loss of hundreds of park staff and dig our parks into an even bigger financial hole as they face nearly $12 billion in needed repairs. The budget also includes deep cuts to historic preservation and interpretation.

The administration’s budget also calls for a 31 percent cut to the EPA, the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act so we can breathe healthy air, swim in clean water and enjoy scenic national park vistas unmarred by haze pollution. Additionally, it nearly zeros out or eliminates funding for critical programs that protect waterways and restore ecosystems, such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the South Florida Program.

Below is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association:

“President Trump’s proposed budget is yet another example of the lack of understanding this administration has about the importance and significance of our national parks and public lands. The administration is proposing to gut the National Park Service’s budget by $481 million, which would cut hundreds of ranger jobs as parks continue to experience record visitation. The budget also proposes severely slashing funding for EPA programs that protect the air we breathe and water we drink. This onslaught of budget cuts only compounds challenges already facing our parks and public lands. Yet the administration is determined to increase funding by the billions for a controversial border wall that will block wildlife migration, disrupt water flow and destroy delicate park ecosystems.

“The Park Service is already operating on shoestring budgets, and due to years of additional cuts, our parks are dealing with crumbling facilities and too few rangers and other staff to serve visitors. All of this threatens the ability to protect our cultural and natural resources from the Jefferson Memorial at the National Mall to miles of trails throughout Zion National Park. On top of it all, our parks continue to recover from the longest shutdown in U.S. history, where parks faced millions of dollars in lost fee revenue and costly damage to irreplaceable resources, some that may never be fixed. We all saw firsthand the unnecessary and avoidable damage to our parks when park staff were limited during the shutdown, yet this administration is proposing to make this the new normal by gutting park funding and hundreds of ranger jobs.

“Our parks deserve better and so do the American people. National parks continue to be a pawn in this administration’s budget, and our children and grandchildren will pay the price. Congress must stand up for our parks and reject any cuts that would jeopardize the future of our most treasured places.”

Park-related budget items include:

  • Cuts $77 million, or 3.1 percent from the budget to operate national parks, funding critical to ensuring parks can meet their mission to protect park resources and ensure a quality visitor experience.
  • Potentially cuts $7.8 million in desperately needed deferred maintenance funding for our parks that are already faced with nearly $12 billion in backlogged repair needs.
  • Zeroes out the National Heritage Area program, which supports local tourism economies by providing opportunities for historic preservation and interpretation.
  • Cuts the Historic Preservation Fund, which protects and restores nationally significant historic sites.
  • Eliminates funds for the centennial challenge, undermining projects addressing deferred maintenance and other improvements to the visitor experience.
  • Slashes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is critically needed to protect parcels of lands inside parks from commercial and residential development.
  • Cuts funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 90 percent, an important federal funding source for communities and park restoration projects in the region. This funding is used to restore habitat for birds and fish, control invasive species, and reduce runoff from cities and farms to improve water quality for the more than 30 million Americans that depend on the lakes for their drinking water.
  • Cuts funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program by 90 percent. With more than 50 national parks in the watershed, virtually eliminating the Chesapeake Bay Program threatens the overall health of the Chesapeake by stopping the progress made to restore native oysters, which help filter and remove pollution. These cuts would also stop the implementation of the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint - a historic and comprehensive pollution reduction plan for restoring clean water in the region’s streams, creeks and rivers.
  • Eliminates the South Florida geographic program, which helps ensure clean water flows through Everglades National Park and the successful state-federal pollution monitoring partnership that has resulted in improved water quality for the Everglades.
  • Increases funding for energy development on public lands and in federal waters but decreases funding for safety enforcement and prioritizes energy dominance over the protection of our national parks and their wildlife, and clean air and water.

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About National Parks Conservation Association For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.