A Closer Look at Obama's Natl. Park Budget
Recent years of relatively sparse federal funding have left the Interior Department and its agencies "in the ditch," according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who says President Obama's FY14 budget proposal for the department will reverse that trend if approved by Congress.
Under that proposal, Interior overall would receive $11.9 billion for the next fiscal year that begins in October, while the National Park Service would receive $2.3 billion to manage the 401 units of the National Park System, National Parks Traveler reported.
Additionally, the budget calls for full funding — $900 million — of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps pay for land acquisitions for the park system and improvements to the national trails system, by 2015.
"The president's budget is one that starts getting the Department of Interior out of the ditch. It's a thoughtful budget, and one that we are very proud of," Secretary Salazar said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. "The budget makes smart investments in things that we need to grow our economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class while reducing the deficit."
However, a review of Interior's briefing document (attached below) on the Park Service budget proposal shows that it calls for a reduction of more than 100 full-time employees to an agency that currently has 900 full-time vacancies, and would cut $3 million from the agency's operational budget under park management, and another $2.2 million under visitor services. How those cuts would be absorbed was not immediately clear.
Click here to read the entire story from National Parks Traveler.