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Obama Administration Report Says "Sequestration" Would Cut $218 Million From NPS Budget


Unless Congress averts a staggering budget "sequestration" early next year, the National Park System will be devastated by underfunding that could force the Park Service to shutter more than 100 parks, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.

The NPCA drew that conclusion after the Obama administration on Friday released a report from the Office of Management and Budget that projected how the sequestration -- a slashing of government budgets aimed at reining in the federal deficit -- could impact government agencies. That report said the Park Service would have 8.2 percent of its annual budget, or $218 million, cut under sequestration if Congress doesn't act to more deliberately cut costs.

“Make no mistake that if Congress fails to prevent this cut, national parks and local communities who depend on their business will suffer,” NPCA President Tom Kiernan said in a release. “We are deeply concerned that this cut could lead to the closure of more than a hundred parks.”

According to the parks advocacy group, the park system already suffers "from an annual operations shortfall of $500 to $600 million, which means there are insufficient rangers and other staff to care for our national treasures and serve visitors. Park budgets have already been slashed over the last two years, and as Congress debates how to address the deficit, the report out today clearly indicates that our national heritage is at risk in the near future."

The OMB report projects that under sequestration the Park Service would have $183 million cut from its daily operations budget, $13 million from its construction budget, $5 million from its National Recreation and Preservation program, $8 million from Land Acquisition and State Assistance program, $5 million from its Historic Preservation program, and $4 million from other programs.

"NPCA’s analysis indicates that the cut of $183 million to the operation of national parks would very likely lead to the furloughing—or indefinite closure—of national parks," the group's release said. "A cut of this magnitude would also likely lead to the loss of many park rangers, particularly during the busy visiting season."

“Not only would the National Park Service have fewer rangers to educate visitors, plan visits, and respond to emergencies, but parks would not have the funding they need to adequately maintain hiking trails, protect wildlife, preserve historic buildings, or keep visitor centers and campgrounds open for visitors to enjoy,” said Mr. Kiernan.

NPCA has pointed out that the Park Service budget represents just 1/14th of 1 percent of the overall federal budget. At the same time, the group says, national parks "support $31 billion in private-sector spending and 258,000 jobs each year."

“Our national parks are at a crossroads. Making the right choice to invest in national parks will not only protect our national park legacy, but benefit local economies and communities nationwide,” the NPCA president said.


Fear Mongers. If we don't get our fiscal house in order we are in trouble. What we need are caring citizens with great ideas that love this country and it's parks, so we can run them on a smaller budget. Shuttering parks threats is fear mongering!

This is more threats and attempted blackmail from the incredibly wasteful NPS upper management, who think they are above criticism or budget cuts. The National Parks Conservation Association is an enabler for these 'more' addicts and has the same top-heavy management structure. NPCA's expenses exceeded revenue last year and Charity Navigator gives them only two stars for financial mangement:

NPCA has pointed out that the Park Service budget represents just 1/14th of 1 percent of the overall federal budget. At the same time, the group says, national parks "support $31 billion in private-sector spending and 258,000 jobs each year."

What NPCA doesn't tell you is that $31 billion is 1/26th of 1 percent of all private sector spending and 258,000 jobs is 1/55 of 1 percent of all jobs. Looks like NPCA is getting more than its fair share.

I rescind the calculations in the prior post as I was off by one decimal point. However, I would note the dollars and jobs cited by NPS are pure extrapolation. Actual NPS employees are 21,500 not 258,000 and of course that $31 billion of spending is not in the national parks. To suggest "gateway activities" wouldn't exist because the exact same land is called national forest (or some other designation) rather than "nationl park" is absurd.

Anonymous at 9:03, gateway activities tied to national forests do not seem to carry anywhere near the same economic clout as they do in gateways to national parks. Just look at the brisk business done in West Yellowstone (Yellowstone), Jackson (Grand Teton), or Springdale (Zion), and compare that to the business done in Stanley, Idaho, Centennial, Wyoming, or Buffalo, Wyoming.

So economically potent are the words "national park" that towns such as Cedar City, Utah, and Grand Junction, Colorado, would love to see Cedar Breaks National Monument and Colorado National Monument renamed as "national parks."

Kurt - might that be because Yellowstone, the Tetons and Zion have more appeal (on their own) than Stanley, Centennial or Buffalo?

Would Estes not be as strong without RMNP? Would Gatlinburg not be as strong without GSMNP? Would Washington DC not be as strong if its NP units were called something else? Would people that didn't vacation in/near a NP (where the dollars are counted) not vacation somewhere? Is that really incremental dollars to the economy?

While I love the NPs i have spent far more time and money camping/hiking/fishing etc outside NP units than in.

Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, but I find Stanley to be a wonderful town surrounded by incredible national forestlands with great opportunities from hiking to mountain biking, climbing and paddling. The Bighorns surrounding Buffalo likewise offer incredible scenery and backcountry opportunties.

I'd wager that if either the Sawtooth National Forest or the Bighorn National Forest were "national parks" instead that Buffalo and Stanley would be doing much better economically. There actually once was a day when the Sawtooth NRA was eyed for inclusion in the National Park System. And if you've seen the Sawtooths, you know they're as spectacular as the Tetons....

All the evidence in the universe makes it clear that the "national park" designation create a boon for gateway towns. Evidence for this one is pretty easy to google.

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