While our national parks continue to preserve America’s favorite places, they are showing their age. A record-breaking 331 million visitors went to national parks last year, and yet, some members of Congress and the Trump Administration are considering deep funding cuts to federal agencies like the National Park Service.
In fact, the Trump Administration’s blueprint for the fiscal year 2018 budget includes a 13 percent cut to National Park Service funding. However, Congress controls the purse strings. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents in support of park funding.
Years of underfunding by Congress has forced park managers to care for parks on shoestring budgets, often making difficult choices between providing visitor services or repairing worn out facilities. The price tag for making the delayed repairs is now nearly $12 billion, yet the Park Service receives only 60 cents out of every dollar it needed just to keep the maintenance backlog from growing. A shortage in federal funding this severe means park superintendents can’t afford to keep up with even the most basic repairs and maintenance our parks need.
With mounting repairs and record crowds, our rangers are doing more with less. And they shouldn’t have to. We need members of Congress who will stand on the side of parks and fight to ensure rangers have the resources they need to maintain our parks so they may thrive in their second century.