While Congress averted a federal government shutdown by sending a Continuing Resolution for funding the rest of the fiscal year to the president on Thursday, the measure further cuts the National Park Service's budget, according to an advocacy group.
The funding measure cuts the Park Service's current-year budget by more than $30 million on top of the 5 percent across-the-board budget sequestration doled out earlier this month, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.
“The National Parks Conservation Association is deeply disappointed that Congress has cut funding for our national parks even more than the sequester. From Yellowstone to Gettysburg and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the sequester already cut $130 million from the National Park Service budget and the Senate proposal passed by Congress made a bad situation worse by cutting millions more," said Craig Obey, NPCA's senior vice president of government affairs. "These cuts come on top of the 6 percent reduction to national parks enacted over the last two years.
"In the face of news reports focused on the adverse impact the sequester cuts will have on many parks, Congress snubbed park visitors and future generations, and made a bad situation worse," he added in a prepared statement. "It is hard to find any single government function that has as broad societal agreement among people of all political persuasions as the protection of our national parks. But today’s irrational federal budget process seems incapable of meaningfully responding, other than to compound the problem."
How this additional funding reduction is handled by the Park Service through the remaining six months of FY13 remains to be seen. Already parks such as Yellowstone and Acadia have announced delayed spring openings, while others have said some campgrounds won't open this summer and campers at other parks might suffer from vault toilets that go unemptied.