Forget FY08 Budget, Look at Things Now

While all the attention in parkdom seems to be focused on the president's proposed FY08 budget for the National Park Service, we need to keep in mind the current deplorable conditions across the park system.
For instance, in the Blue Ridge Parkway things are so bad that officials are talking about having to jettison 10 or 11 full-time employees to stay within their budget.
"Across the board, most of the parks in the (National Park system) are hitting the wall," Joe Aull, the parkway's administrator, told The Appalachian newspaper. "Our operating shortfall is growing each year."
And over at his Without a Park to Range blog, Ranger X recounts some of the woes that he sees attacking the park system like an insidious scourge.
And let's not forget the Government Accountability Office report that highlighted more problems, such as the lack of backcountry rangers to halt poachers at Bryce Canyon, the practice at parks such as Grand Teton and Canyonlands to leave vacant positions unfilled so they can use the salaries for other purposes, and the reduction of interpretive programs across the park system.
True, there's probably nothing that can be done this fiscal year. But that's not to say these and other examples can't be used to keep the pressure on Congress to do a better job of funding the Park Service in the years ahead.

Comments

Re all the hoopla about 'new' & 'increased' funding apparently promised by the centennial initiative, if Memory serves, the parks have been steadily losing funding, and have deferred maintenance and personnel shortfalls. What is normal funding and staffing? Does the proposed 'initiative' merely add window dressing for the centennial Party, like putting make-up on a corpse? What funding levels are needed. really? Wouldn't there still be a huge deficit despite the 'new' money??