For more than a generation, America's national parks have not received the funding they need. In fact, the U.S. national parks suffer from a $580-million annual operating shortfall and a backlog of maintenance projects that exceeds $9 billion.
The U.S. has made important progress toward protecting park wildlife and historic treasures. But this year, President Obama proposed cutting the National Park Service's budget by another $21.6 million, halting the progress made to improve the experience of park visitors and protection of America's special places.
Send a letter urging Congress to invest in America's national parks by saving the National Park Service's funding.
As an American who treasures our national parks, I am writing to ask you to make certain that the National Park Service continues on the path to financial health in the FY 2011 budget. For a generation or more, parks were provided a level of funding that fell short of need. The result has been an agency that struggles daily to do its job--preserving America's most precious natural and cultural resources and serving the needs of nearly 300 million visitors per year. Parks have made real progress over the last three years; it would be a terrible waste to reverse that trend now.
National parks are a proven investment that pays dividends to thousands of gateway communities across the country. Studies have shown that every dollar invested in parks creates four for the surrounding communities. In this time of economic stress, continuing to invest in parks makes good sense--for the benefit of the parks themselves, for the benefit of the surrounding communities, and for the benefit of future generations.
With your support, we can make sure that in the FY 2011 budget the national parks continue the progress begun over the last few years, cover all fixed cost increases, and continue on a path to recovery in time for the National Park System's Centennial in 2016. The National Park Second Century Commission, comprised of esteemed Americans, recommended a $100 million (plus inflation) increase to better staff the National Park Service. I agree with that recommendation.
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