America’s national parks are in a financial crisis. For years, the National Park Service has been operating on a shoestring budget while dealing with decreases in staffing and record high visitation. On top of these woes, the Park System maintenance backlog has reached an all-time high – nearly $13 billion in needed repairs to crumbling roads, trails, restrooms, visitor centers and other infrastructure.
Over 327 million visitors went to national parks last year, and yet, some members of Congress and the Trump administration regularly consider deep funding cuts to the National Park Service.
Years of underfunding by Congress has forced park managers to often make difficult choices between providing visitor services or repairing worn out facilities. Grand Canyon’s aging water system, which supplies drinking water for millions of visitors is falling apart, while the Blue Ridge Parkway is deteriorating. Yet, the Park Service doesn’t receive nearly enough funding to keep the maintenance backlog from growing let alone keep up with even the most basic repairs and maintenance our parks need.
With mounting repairs 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.