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Budgeting Woes Likely To Hit The National Park Service



With the U.S. House of Representatives, if not the entire Congress, determined to shrink the federal deficit as quickly as politically feasible, expect the National Park Service to take a pretty good hit.

Figures released by the House Appropriations Committee last week identified a $51 million cut in the Park Service's budget, and when President Obama's FY12 budget proposal comes out this week it very likely will show a decrease in the agency's funding.

With an overall budget of around $2.2 billion, $51 million might not seem like much, but remember that the Park Service has a maintenance backlog of about $9 billion, so any cut could be tough to handle.

According to the World Socialist Web Site, the president's budget will reduce the Park Service's construction budget and feature "reductions in battlefield preservation grants, Native American Graves Protection Act grants, and Heritage Area funds for the National Park Service."

With that writing on the wall, at least one park advocacy group, Friends of Acadia, is trying to rally public support to lobby Congress on behalf of the parks.

Specifically, the friends group is warning that cuts in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund could jeopardize efforts to buy a 37-acre tract with the boundaries of Acadia National Park.

Friends of Acadia and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have been working together to protect 37 acres of undeveloped land on Lower Hadlock Pond, to hold them until Acadia National Park can obtain funding to acquire the lands in February 2012. These undeveloped lands are within the Acadia’s boundary and important to the park because several trails traverse the parcel and the pond is important habitat for birds and aquatic species. Additionally, the lands help preserve the watershed for Mount Desert’s water supply.

Acadia National Park needs $2.35 million in order to purchase the entire 37 acres for inclusion in the park. President Obama’s FY 2011 budget included $1.76M for this project, and all four members of Maine’s delegation supported the project. However, Congress is operating under a continuing resolution through March 4, 2011, and has not yet taken action on the FY 2011 Interior Appropriations Bill. The House of Representatives recently released its FY 2011 appropriations recommendations, reducing LWCF levels to $348M, which would jeopardize the FY 2011 funding for Lower Hadlock Pond in Acadia. Please contact your Representatives today to encourage them to fully fund LWCF, including the $1.76 million for Acadia that was in President Obama’s FY 2011 budget.


To write to members of Congress, please visit:

Meanwhile, over at Defenders of Wildlife, President Rodger Schlickeisen doesn't deny the need for fiscal control in Washington. But he does question some of the choices being made.

"The public should be able to trust Congress to demonstrate a sense of fairness and rationality in the cutting process. The House leadership’s Continuing Resolution proves otherwise," he said in a statement released Saturday. "Vital programs that keep our air and water clean and protect our wildlife and public lands have been axed while massive subsidies for big international oil corporations remain in place. Where’s the sense in that?

“It’s clear that the House leadership’s budget-cutting zeal is confined to programs that they oppose on ideological grounds, including environmental protection," continued Mr. Schlickeisen. "Unwarranted taxpayer subsidies for the biggest special interests are left untouched. Stewardship of our nation’s magnificent and unique natural heritage should rank far above fiscal handouts to the favored undeserving, but apparently not in the minds of this House leadership. If they have their way, future generations will have to pay for not only an enormous budget deficit but also a lost natural legacy. ”

Among the cuts he questioned were those aimed at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, efforts to maintain water flows into California's Bay Delta, and federal protection of gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains.

“Do the American people want cuts? Yes," said the Defenders president. "Decimation of our precious environment and natural resources? No. Clearly, the new House majority is using the Continuing Resolution as an opening salvo in an extremely broad and dangerous attack on our country’s most important environmental safeguards. We can only expect the proposals to get worse when the measure comes before the full House.”


Fun game - Guess which Republican will be the first one to say the President's budget is "dead on arrival."

Even the sharpest reduction of Federal spending will make little difference overall -- the only thing DC could have done toward realistically reducing the deficit was to rescind the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy. And they didn't do that. So we're stuck with this Kabuki theater of cutting back Federal programs in a pretense that it will make a difference. It will not.

Yes, I am certain now that the Federal Government is the most efficient, cost effective, completely devoid of fraud or ill-intent and knows supremely what is best for us. There is so much evidence out there that supports this minority movement.
Get real if that's not to much of a threat:). In most mammals the weaning process takes effect before age one. There are a few exceptions (elephants). This natural cycle has sustained life since the beginning but seems to be rapidly disappearing in the minds of children, their parents, officials that think the old, stressful, not much fun, passage through life is a out of fashion.
There is a correction going on and while we escape to these great places (National Parks) escape isn't the answer to the ever growing larger problem that could, if it's allowed to play out, destroy the golden goose. That is my concern and I believe a humbling by what we are facing in the big picture is the only way to secure the real greatness of these places and how they contribute to the health, joy and strength of Americans and those foreigners that come to visit.

There is a lot of "fat" in the NPS budget and it is time to get rid of it. Back to basices and focues on the mission of "Service" in Park Units. Also, time to get rid of some of the junk Congress has given us over that last 30 yrs. We need a "Park Closing Commisison" to rid the US tax payers for runing what at best are State Parks.

Just a short mention of the John F. Kennedy tax cuts and the Ronald Reagun tax cuts. It would appear that they had much more in common ( real stimulus for one) with resultant success with the economy and on the World stage. Just something noteworthy, I thought.

MORE PARKS (for the masses), LESS PORK (for the hyper-rich and the military-industrial complex). May as well put in my partisan two cents.

Budget cuts are something that everyone has to take an equal share of if we are going to reduce the deficit and get back to living within our means. But to really tackle the deficit cuts are only half the answer, they must be supported with the creation of more jobs and stimulus to the economy.

The back log in Maintenence is due to the superintendents of parks taking money for projects and spending it elsewhere.......It`s called bad management !!!!!!!
There is alot of  fat in the park service.New computers every year ,cell phones ,and people hired that are never at work or do nothing when they are at work..
This may not br the case in alot of parks but I do know one this happens at..
Parks need to be monitored closer.  The management needs to be monitored to see where the money goes and keep a close eye on management over-all.

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