Death by a Thousand Cuts: Report Shows Consequences of Defunding National Parks
As Congress approaches another deadline on the federal budget, a new report, released by Environment America exposes the challenges facing the country’s parks, seashores, monuments and historic sites as a result of mounting funding cuts to the National Park Service.
National Parks Conservation Association
“From Yellowstone to the Everglades, our country’s parks saw seasonal staffing slashed, educational programs cancelled and in some instances saw some sections of parks closed to visitors entirely this past summer,” said Aaron Weil, conservation advocate with Environment America. “We don’t want death by a thousand cuts for our national parks.”
Our national parks, seashores, trails and historic sites provide critical habitat for wildlife, ensure clean drinking water for communities across the country, and offer endless recreational opportunities. Visitors to this country’s parks have been enjoying the chance to hike canoe, camp, or just take in the awe-inspiring beauty of these iconic landscapes for more than 100 years.
In addition to national parks being closed during the government shutdown last year, 2013 was the third straight year Congress cut funding to the National Park Service operating budget. Additional cuts from the March sequester make for a 13 percent reduction in funding for our parks in todays dollars over this period.
National Parks Conservation Association
The report, Death by a Thousand Cuts, looks at individual states' National Parks statistics and gives concrete examples of how each state's Parks have been affected by defunding, such as:
- At Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan park-led ranger programs including environmental education programs for school groups were decreased across the board, as were the monitoring programs for the endangered piping plover.
- At Yellowstone National Park in Montana, snow plowing was delayed two weeks, forcing the park to start the season later than originally scheduled. This had a direct impact on approximately 135,000 visitors and an equivalent loss in revenue.
“Let’s give our parks a new start in 2014,” added Weil. “If we continue on this path, our grandchildren could be forced to explore parking lots and fracking wells instead of river valleys and mountaintops.”
“In addition to their wealth of beauty and wonder, our parks generate more than $30 billion in revenue every year, and support more than 250,000 jobs” said Weil. “Defunding our parks is like shooting ourselves in the foot.”
While the budget deal passed in December may allow for some increase in the parks budget, it’s up to congressional spending committees to decide the actual funding levels this month.
“We urge Congress to stand up for our National Parks by providing the resources and funding they desperately need during the upcoming budget negotiations,” Weil concluded. “America’s park lovers are counting on it.”
Disturbing footage of a snake in Goa, India vomiting an empty soft drink bottle highlights the world's mounting plastic pollution crisis.
By Melissa Hellmann
When her eldest son was in elementary school in the Oakland Unified School District, Ruth Woodruff became alarmed by the meals he was being served at school. A lot of it was frozen, processed foods, packed with preservatives. At home, she was feeding her children locally sourced, organic foods.
By James O'Hare
There are 20 million people in the world facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. In developed nations, too, people go hungry. Venezuela, for instance, is enduring food insecurity on a national level as a result of economic crisis and political corruption. In the U.S., the land of supposed excess, 12.7 percent of households were food insecure in 2015, meaning they didn't know where their next meal would come from.
Artists are taking the climate crisis into frame and the results are emotional, beautiful and stirring.
So you've seen the best climate change cartoons and shared them with your friends. You've showed your family the infographics on climate change and health, infographics on how the grid works and infographics about clean, renewable energy. You've even forwarded these official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphs that explain the 10 clear indicators of climate change to your colleagues at the office.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.