'Dialogue' Under Way on National Parks
With sequestration and general federal budget pressures threatening the National Park Service budget, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA) hosted a national dialogue about supplementary funding strategies for national parks this morning (March 19) at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
According to a report on digitaljournal.com, the event brings together political leaders and park advocates to identify new sustainable non-appropriated funding sources that can capitalize on bipartisan support for America’s treasured national parks.
“The Park Service budget has eroded by 15% over the last decade in today’s dollars even before accounting for sequestration. These cuts need to stop and we must find creative solutions that better address the funding needs of our national parks, visitors, and park-dependent businesses,” said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association. “As our national parks approach their centennial in 2016, taking actions now will help ensure America’s heritage is protected for visitors to enjoy in the future.”
As the official kick-off of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s 2013 Bridge-Builder Breakfast series, the parks community gathered to discuss recommendations for non-appropriated, supplementary, sustainable funding solutions for national parks. The list of knowledgeable speakers includes: Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, former Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Jim Oberstar (D-MN), and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and former Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman.
“We need to both challenge and empower the agencies caring for America’s national parks and other special places to develop sustainable plans to supplement traditional appropriations of general tax revenues. There are ways to sustain a strong system of national parks not only for the next few years but long into the future – and that is what we should be doing as the National Park Service turns 100 in 2016 and embarks on efforts to stay relevant and cherished for another 100 years,” said Derrick A. Crandall, counselor of the National Park Hospitality Association.
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