Tell Congress to Reach a Budget Deal that Protects National Parks
Congress could not agree on deficit reduction last summer so agreed to a deep and damaging cut for January that would force them to find agreement. Unfortunately, they continue to delay finding a meaningful solution, so an indiscriminate across-the-board cut called the “sequester” increasingly looks possible. The sequester would force an historic, deep and damaging cut to the park service.
It is difficult to overstate the damage that a 10% cut would have: rangers absent during the busy visiting season, closed campgrounds and visitor centers, and even entire parks. Historic sites could fall further into disrepair, basic maintenance would be reduced, trails could be more poorly maintained and school groups could be turned away for lack of park service staff to accommodate their visits.
The National Park Service costs 1/14th of one percent of the federal budget and did not cause the deficit; even cutting the entire agency’s budget would do almost nothing to address our debt. Rather, national parks not only protect our natural and cultural heritage, but they provide affordable vacation destinations for American families and are an inspiring draw for international visitors, helping ensure more than $30 billion in spending and more than a quarter million jobs supported by national parks each year. Put another way, if the National Park Service were a Fortune 500 company, it would be among the top 100 revenue producers in the country, among companies such as DuPont and Google. National parks are already underfunded and have paid their share already, in part through a six percent cut over the last two years. Cutting them deeply makes no economic sense and would be as penny-wise and pound-foolish as it gets.
For more information on the threat of this cut, see NPCA’s report, Made in America.