Even in tight times, we can't afford to underfund our national parks and the people who protect them.
Last month, President Obama released a budget proposal that would slash $21.6 million from the National Park Service’s operations for 2013—a move that would force the agency to cut as many as 500 seasonal rangers and other park workers from its payroll. While the president’s numbers are disappointing, this proposal is not binding, and members of Congress are currently voicing their own priorities for the next fiscal year. We still have time to demand our public officials do better by adequately funding our national parks.
NPCA has been working for the last several weeks to garner congressional support for a stronger Park Service budget. To date, more than 21,800 NPCA supporters have taken action to express deep concern with this proposed cut in the president’s budget, and eight senators have already signed a Senate letter calling for no cuts to Park Service staffing. We want to help at least double that level of support, but we only have until Thursday, the Appropriations Committee’s deadline, to convince more senators to support stronger funding for park rangers. A similar letter in the House yielded a record number of signatures.
At a time when the president wants to boost our tourism economy, it would be short-sighted to underfund our national parks, which are some of our most popular and affordable tourism destinations. Rangers are the public face of these parks and they offer expertise, stewardship, and visitor services that are simply irreplaceable—even in tight times, we can’t afford to lose them.
About the author
John Garder Senior Director of Budget & Appropriations, Government Affairs
John Garder is Senior Director of Budget & Appropriations at NPCA. He is a budget analyst and researcher who advocates for more adequate funding for national parks to diverse audiences, including Congress, the White House, and the Department of the Interior.