National park visitors supported record-setting economic benefits in 2022. Why are some members of Congress proposing budget cuts?
WASHINGTON – National Park visitors generated a record-setting $50.3 billion benefit to America’s economy and supported 378,400 jobs in 2022, according to data released today by the Department of Interior.
With the 2023 summer park visitation season in full swing, members of Congress will return to Washington DC next month to continue negotiations on a spending bill to fund parks and all federal programs. The currently proposed House Interior appropriations spending bill would cut $433 million or 12.5% from the Park Service’s budget, which received a critical increase last year. The drastic proposed cuts to the park budget could mean 1,000 less staff to ensure visitor experience and safety and less resources to protect these treasured sites.
Statement by Emily Douce, Deputy Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association
“Our beloved national parks provide visitors with incredible intrinsic values and in turn, produce record-setting economic benefits, as amplified in this report. At odds with these values is a trend over the past decade of barebone proposals by Congress, which harm these incredible places as well as the sustainable, made-in-America jobs they support.
“Proposals in the US House of Representatives that claim to slash our national parks budgets in the name of lowering debt carry a false narrative that undermines these very places that lawmakers have promised to protect. The National Park Service is a tiny slice of our federal budget—less than one fifteenth of one percent. Proposed spending cuts force managers to make difficult decisions that could take the form of closed campgrounds and reduced hours at visitor centers, overflowing garbage cans, and cuts to youth and educational programs.
“NPCA urges Congress to pass a funding bill that values versus undermines our national parks and surrounding communities for their economic and intrinsic values before we lose the resources that make these places so special.”
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