Imagine if more than one third of the 397 units of the National Park System had to shut down because the Park Service didn't have the money to operate them. That's one example the National Parks Conservation Association is using to illustrate the threat of impending budget cuts on the agency.
The recently launched campaign doesn't stop there, either. It points out the economic benefits of national parks -- "Every dollar invested in park operations generates about $10 for local communities, and every two Park Service jobs yields one job outside the park" -- equates the economic might of the Park Service "to the revenue of many Fortune 500 companies," and cites a recent poll indicating that 92 percent of Americans believe park funding should either remain at current levels or be increased.
The campaign comes as the presidential campaign is getting down to the closing months, what with the GOP Convention scheduled to start Tuesday and the Democratic Convention scheduled for early September. The funding fate of the Park Service could hinge on which which party wins the presidential election in November, and which controls Congress.
To make a point that the agency shouldn't be in the calculations of either party's budget cuts, the NPCA graphic also notes that the Park Service's roughly $3 billion budget represents just one-14th of 1 percent of the entire federal budget -- in other words, very, very small potatoes -- and that "slashing" that budget could affect nearly 260,000 jobs across the country.