2004: U.S. National Parks Told to Quietly Cut Services
by Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News
Millions of Americans will flock to the country's national parks this summer. Dazzled by nature and history, will they notice the missing signs, crumbling roads, or disappearance of park rangers?
Facing what some people warn is a "crippling" budget shortfall, many national park superintendents are being asked to consider cutting their ranger staffs, services, and visitor center hours—and possibly even closing down completely on certain days.
Several advocacy groups now charge that the entire National Park System is menaced by a hidden crisis, and that Park Service officials are trying to cover it up. "Make no mistake about it. There is a chill over the National Park Service today," said Denny Huffman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees in Washington, D.C.
2007: President pushes boost in funding for national parks
by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
National parks would be a big winner under President Bush's 2008 budget, and a plan to match up to $100 million annually in private donations could guarantee increases for a decade.
Bush's budget, being unveiled today, would give the National Park Service $2.4 billion next year, administration officials told USA TODAY. That includes a $258 million increase for daily operations, up 14.5%. Since 2002, those funds have risen 1.5% above inflation.
The president proposes adding at least $100 million a year for the next 10 years. The funds would be used to hire 3,000 seasonal park rangers, guides and maintenance workers each summer, an increase of more than 50%. In addition, more than 1 million children could be enrolled in youth programs.
In other words, the 2008 proposal restores a fraction of the funding Bush has previously cut.
This Christmas season we give thanks for our nation’s abundant blessings.
In the spirit of gratitude for our natural and historic treasures found from sea to shining sea, this year’s theme highlights America’s national parks. From breathtaking landscapes to important historical sites, generations have marveled at God’s magnificent creation and cherished memories of visits to these special places.
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