Posted by: Mark Polk | 8:33 am

Protect our National Parks for Future Generations

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”~Theodore Roosevelt

Unfortunately it seems Teddy Roosevelt’s words fell on deaf ears. Our National Park Service already has a $12 billion backlog in park maintenance, and the National Park Service’s annual budget has remained nearly stagnant, at $2.86 billion, since 2008.

To me this signals that National Park funding is already inadequate, and threatens the future of all our federally protected land.

Now add to that the National Park Service gets hit with 5% sequestration budget cuts mandated by Congress and President Obama. These additional cuts will increase an already unmanageable maintenance backlog and result in fewer employees, fewer visitors, park closings and the local economies suffering the brunt of it.

Rather than creating jobs for this fantastic recreational service provider, with an estimated 279 million visitors annually, our government is cutting jobs. Where is the sense in this?

In an article by Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional National Parks Caucus, said that he has lobbied the administration and his colleagues to restore park funding but that he’s “not optimistic” the current trajectory will reverse itself. “It’s just the blind zeal for cuts in the discretionary part of the budget, regardless of the consequences.”

In contrast, according to the New York Times, beyond the $700 billion bailout known as TARP, which was used prop up banks and car companies, the government has created an array of other programs to provide support to the struggling financial system. Through April 2011 the government has made commitments of about $12.2 trillion and spent $2.5 trillion.

That’s trillion not billion! What about the struggling National Park Service???

We are stewards of the land, and as such are responsible for protecting and ensuring our national & state parks are left the way we found them for future generations. I find it despicable that every time state and federal governments attempt to work through self-inflicted deficits and poor planning our state parks and national parks are the first to suffer from the government’s inadequacies.

Shame on our state and federal government representatives who allow these national treasures, that rightfully belong to we the people, to be neglected and go along the wayside during their watch. If Teddy Roosevelt witnessed this atrocity during his lifetime you can bet he would have found a way to step in and stop it from happening.

Maybe we as the owners of these wonderful natural resources should band together and let our voice be heard about what is happening to our precious land before it’s too late.

You can contact your state representattive and let your voice be heard on this and other matters. Please take a minute to contact your representative and let them know how you feel about this important matter. Thanks

Go here to find your representative by zip code

Mark Polk

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