On March 4, 2014, President Obama unveiled a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which would increase funding for our national parks by $664 million as part of a new multi-year Centennial Initiative to prepare parks for the Park Service's 100th anniversary in 2016.
This is great news! This funding is an important step towards keeping parks open and operational after several years of cuts and declining funds. But for these much needed funds to become a reality for national parks, the proposal needs congressional support.
Part of this funding will require new legislation but a portion of it can be directed toward parks soon by congressional spending committees. Please send a message asking your senators and representative to support the president's new budget proposal.
To make the greatest impact, please add a personal message if you can about why you want your representatives to support the Centennial Initiative.
We are just two years away from the National Park Service centennial in 2016, and now is the time to invest in our national parks before this historic milestone. I urge you to support the president's recently announced multi-year Centennial Initiative to seize on this historic opportunity to restore our national parks.
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Of the larger $664 million request for Fiscal Year 2015 for the National Park Service, a portion would fall within the budget caps recently agreed to by both parties in Congress. This $55 million appropriated increase would put more national park rangers to work after years of declining staff. These rangers would maintain parks, enhance the visitor experience, and better connect young people with their natural and cultural heritage while supporting local economies across the country. This funding would also create needed construction jobs while restoring America's treasures and ensure needed funds to combat inappropriate development threatening our national parks. The request also includes a modest investment in a Centennial Challenge fund--initially offered by the last administration--to leverage private matching funds.
National parks are economic engines that support nearly a quarter million jobs annually and nearly $27 billion in economic activity. The average American household pays $2.56 in taxes each year toward Park Service to operations, with every dollar invested in the National Park System generating roughly $10 in economic benefits.
With the National Park Service Centennial fast approaching in 2016, now is the time for Congress to stand up for park rangers, American jobs, gateway economies, and the restoration of our national parks for their next century of service and beyond.
Please support an appropriated funding increase of at least $55 million for national parks in Fiscal Year 2015, and do what you can to ensure the larger multi-year Centennial Initiative receives congressional support.