Ryan Budget Would Lead To Closures Of "Hundreds" Of National Park Units

The budget proposal presented by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is called The Path To Prosperity, but along the way towards prosperity it could decimate many communities that have economic interests vested in national parks, according to an Office of Management and Budget analysis.

Earlier this year, Interior Department officials touted the economic clout of the National Park System's 397 units, saying they generated $31 billion and nearly 260,000 jobs in 2011.

If the Ryan budget were to pass -- something that Senate Democrats are not likely to allow -- beginning in 2014, "hundreds of national parks would have to shut down for parts of the year," according to an analysis conducted by Jeff Zients, OMB's acting director.

That prospect brought quick condemnation of the Ryan budget from officials at the National Parks Conservation Association.

"The Office of Management and Budget has stated that the budget being proposed by Rep. Ryan (R-WI) in the House on Wednesday could mean drastic cuts for the national parks, confirming NPCA’s budget analysis contained in our report, Made in America, released last fall," said Craig Obey, the group's senior vice president of government affairs.

"NPCA’s Made in America report stated that a cut of only 5 to 10 percent could mean that the number of operating hours could be reduced, the number of rangers could be cut, and some parks might have to close at certain times," added Mr. Obey in a release.

"If the annual non-defense funding reductions in the Ryan budget were applied equally across those programs in FY 13, park budgets would be reduced by 5 percent effective October of this year. If deeper reductions like those that could occur under the budget resolution were made after FY 13, the results for our national parks and the millions of Americans who cherish and visit them, as well as the businesses that depend on them, could be severe."


Guys, I've been consistently warning about this on my blog for more than two years now. This was very easy to predict, especially after what has been happening to parks at the state and local levels.

Our reckless spending has finally caught up with us. We are now forced to pay the piper. If we continue to spend like drunken sailors we will drive the economy, and our country over the cliff.

Trust me, I'm not happy about this. But we as Americans will be making many sacrafices in the coming years, and this will likely be one of the easier ones to make.

I urge all of you to look at the chart on this WSJ article to see the historical significance of what our nation is facing:



Isn't it obvious that the federal government is bloated, wasteful and unsustainable in it's current form? The 'true believers' seem unable to comprehend that this includes the National Park Service. It's typically passive-aggressive of NPS management that proposals to reduce their budget are met with threats of closures, as if that were the only possible response. If only every other high roller in the incredibly top-heavy Regional and D.C. offices were retired, I'd bet the National Park budget could absorb a 20% cut and have money left over for those who range more than the halls of Congress. Apply the inevitable future cuts from the top down and the Parks will be fine.

I think it might be time to re-evaluate some of the properties of the National Park Serivice. I love the national parks and so many of the other sites, but maybe some of them need to be handed over to local authorities to manage. Take for example one of the newest national park properties, the River Raisin Battlefield in Monroe, Michigan. The War of 1812 site was co-managed by the city of Monroe and the Monroe County Historical Society until it became a national battlefield last year. Maybe this should have stayed under local administration and ownership. I would bet there are numerous historic sites and smaller natural sites that could be administered at the state and local levels rather than at the federal level.

I do not work for the NPS, but the project I am working on is federally funded. Obama cut $50 million from our budget. We are looking at a 25% reduction in force. It is not just the NPS that is facing cuts. Like Somky Mtn Hiker said, we are paying the piper.

Maybe we should vote Ron Paul?
They want to cut America's Greatest Idea? so they might continue spending $1 trillion+ on defense? Maybe if we spent more time enjoying life and nature instead of death, destruction and greed, we'd be a more peaceful people with a better outlook on life. We wouldn't dare cut SEC, or Board of Ed, both do absolutely nothing and are counter-productive to progress and evolution in this country and the world.
United States = wealthiest country & the least happy populus.

How about us all deciding to choose to live in the REAL WORLD and deal with it instead of continuing to sip the Kool Aid ?

Although turning federal parks over (or leaving them as state parks) to state agencies seems like a good idea, I am confident that the states have much fewer resources at their disposal than the feds do. State parks all over the country have been closing for the past three years.

A lot of pure madness being discussed hereabouts.

The entire NPS budget is a drop of water in the ocean, compared to the waste of a decade of two wars. Cut back on the money [and lives] being wasted and we could double the NPS budget without a flinch of national pain.

Spoken like any number of occupiers of their own interest groups. You put enough drops in a bucket and sooner or later the bucket is full. A weak US and it seems like the whole world comes apart and that includes the Parks unless you'd like to withdraw from the country as a whole.

Why must we assume that the National Parks be run entirely through the Federal budget? Wouldn't it be great if there were an endowment for the national parks that would buffer them from the vicissitudes of politics?

Rick B.,

The graph in the WSJ article (below) showing debt as a percent of GDP does not support either of your claims. The problem is with all the entitlements that are about to come due as a result of the bulge in our population that is getting ready to retire (mainly from social security, medicare, medicaid and Obamacare). Just like a credit card, interest on the debt is compounding, thus creating a snowball effect. Moreover, there are far fewer people paying into the system versus people receiving benefits when compared to the last several decades. This situation will continue to get worse as baby boomers continue to retire in droves over the next 10 - 20 years. It's because of "over-promising", without making adjustments to programs to meet new realities, that spending on programs such as national parks will suffer.


Denying the existence of spending problems on all levels of government won't make them go away. The U.S. is not far from experiencing what Greece is going through right now.


Wow... interesting. You would think that this is a NPS friendly readership, yet if you read the comments, they all support spending cuts in the name of bringing things back in line. Kinda scary what that might say about the population as a whole. Of course most of them won't vote with that in mind.
They are right, spending is out of control. And much like bussing and school districts, they are going to spin all the numbers to make it look like they are going to hurt the things we love first. To start with the numbers the White house it using are not true. They are taking a cut and saying "if" that cut were to hit blank department then this is what the result could be. Besides... maybe some of the hours do need cut. Maybe there is waste in the government. The days of the $1000 toilet seat are not gone. We are going to have to contract, live within our means, and then when things get better then maybe there will be more money.
It amazes me that the Democrats continue to stand on the position of being against every cut, of being for spending more and more and more.

Anything from the right wing WSJ that ignores the realities of the cost of the war is questionable. We had a surplus at the end of the Clinton administration. Bush Junior managed to absolutely squander that and get us into such debt it will take many administrations of sane financial management to dig out.

By the way, I'm a former platoon sergeant with a combat tour in the 60's. I'm not anti-soldier. I'm anti-wasting-soldiers. It will be decades before the entire social and VA cost of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars is totalled.

Rick – attacking or disparaging the source of information doesn’t change the facts.

Yes, there were budget surpluses at the end of Clinton’s 2nd term, but remember, he did have a Republican Congress. And, don’t confuse annual budgets with long term debt. We still had debt in the 80s.

It appears you didn’t even look at the chart. It tells a much different story than the one you’re trying to spin….

"Anything from the right wing WSJ"
Right wing? You obviously don't read the Journal. Once you get off the editorial page the WSJ is only slightly right of the left leaning main steet media like the NYTs, Washpo or LA Times.

Turning national park units over to state and local governments is not a solution because, they too, are in deep financial trouble. Isn't it time to end the tax cuts for the rich and the oil companies?

I'm going to back on out of this one now, not because I've been 'corrected', but because I learned how useless it is to argue with True Believers years ago.

Hell, thirty years ago I was one of you conservatives, but I managed to develop both a conscience and an improved ability to decide what I feel is worth fighting over.

Y'all have fun now and clean up when you're done.

" 30 years ago I was one of you conservatives," really. I've been on that path and for the sake of our survival I'm returning to the real world (conservatism). Nothing personal, Rick.