Statement by NPCA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Craig Obey
“A new public opinion survey by Hart Research Associates confirms the tremendous support for our national parks by the voting public without regard for party affiliation. The survey also clearly shows that American voters believe that neither Congress nor the Administration can be trusted to adequately protect and fund our national parks and public lands.
“These results should be a wake-up call for politicians in Washington—Democrats, Republicans, Congress and the President. The unmistakable conclusion is that voters don’t trust any of our elected federal decision-makers to protect national parks and other public lands. Rather than close parks and cut park budgets, voters want Washington to invest in national parks and expand outdoor opportunities.
“The closure of national parks during the government shutdown sensitized the American public to their tremendous economic importance, as confirmed by the three in four voters who believe that park closures had a serious adverse impact. In fact, over the 16 days that national parks were closed, local economies felt an estimated loss of a half billion dollars in direct visitor spending—a conservative figure that underestimates the total economic loss.
“In the aftermath of the disastrous shutdown and damaging sequester cuts and with the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service fast approaching, Congress and the President have an opportunity to begin to restore public faith in their ability to lead and protect our national treasures: cancel the sequester, restore critically needed funds for national parks, and expand opportunities for Americans to get outdoors and enjoy America’s heritage.
“While the gates to our national parks may have re-opened, many parks remain partially closed because their budgets have been so severely cut. Over the last three years, the budget to operate our national parks has been cut by 13 percent in today’s dollars. American voters clearly feel that the budget sequester went too far in cutting funds for national parks and is a mistake that should not be repeated or continued. Voters see our national parks as gifts from previous generations and a legacy we pass on to our children, yet see Washington as shortsighted when it comes to fulfilling our responsibility to future generations. It is about time that Washington got the message.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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