Following a centennial year that saw more than 330 million people descend on the country’s national parks and pushed the National Park Service (NPS) resources to its limit, the parks system is now at risk of seeing much-needed funding and upkeep slashed under President Trump’s budget blueprint, according to a report by Travel Weekly.
“The challenge is, and has always been, funding these sites adequately to keep up with the demands placed on them,” said Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, a tour operator that specializes in national park travel. “These budget cuts come at a time where the parks are seeing record crowds, and yet funding has been falling short for decades.”
Last month, the Trump administration released a budget blueprint that would cut nearly 12% from the annual budget of the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service, as well as 31% of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget, an agency whose funding also impacts various park projects.
As a result, park advocates are sounding the alarm.
Maureen Finnerty, chairwoman of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, said in a statement, “Never before have cuts of this magnitude been made. These cuts are extreme and will result in the degradation of park resources owned by all Americans.”
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