For years, the National Park Service has been operating on a shoestring budget while dealing with decreases in staffing and record high visitation. Between 2011 and 2019, the National Park Service lost 16% of its full-time employees. And while parks were partially closed and visitation was down in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, we are already seeing record-breaking visitation in 2021. Over 327 million visitors went to national parks in 2019, and some are estimating visitation will exceed that in 2021.
Thanks to advocates like you, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law on August 4, 2020, guaranteeing $6.5 billion over five years to repair aging infrastructure, roads, trails, restrooms and visitor centers across all of our national parks. But our work is not done.
With continued operations funding shortfalls and record crowds, our rangers are being forced to do even more with much less. And they shouldn’t have to. We need members of Congress to stand up for the future of America’s legacy and fight to ensure rangers have the resources they need to maintain our parks so they may thrive in their second century.