The budget proposal presented by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is called The Path To Prosperity, but along the way towards prosperity it could decimate many communities that have economic interests vested in national parks, according to an Office of Management and Budget analysis.
Earlier this year, Interior Department officials touted the economic clout of the National Park System's 397 units, saying they generated $31 billion and nearly 260,000 jobs in 2011.
If the Ryan budget were to pass -- something that Senate Democrats are not likely to allow -- beginning in 2014, "hundreds of national parks would have to shut down for parts of the year," according to an analysis conducted by Jeff Zients, OMB's acting director.
That prospect brought quick condemnation of the Ryan budget from officials at the National Parks Conservation Association.
"The Office of Management and Budget has stated that the budget being proposed by Rep. Ryan (R-WI) in the House on Wednesday could mean drastic cuts for the national parks, confirming NPCA’s budget analysis contained in our report, Made in America, released last fall," said Craig Obey, the group's senior vice president of government affairs.
"NPCA’s Made in America report stated that a cut of only 5 to 10 percent could mean that the number of operating hours could be reduced, the number of rangers could be cut, and some parks might have to close at certain times," added Mr. Obey in a release.
"If the annual non-defense funding reductions in the Ryan budget were applied equally across those programs in FY 13, park budgets would be reduced by 5 percent effective October of this year. If deeper reductions like those that could occur under the budget resolution were made after FY 13, the results for our national parks and the millions of Americans who cherish and visit them, as well as the businesses that depend on them, could be severe."