NPCA Releases New Graphic To Support Calls For Better Funding Of National Parks

The coffee-drinking public spends much, much more on its caffeine surge on an annual basis, per capita, than individual taxpayers do supporting the National Park System.

That's one of the take-aways to be had from a new graphic from the National Parks Conservation Association. The graphic comes as members of Congress work to find agreement on a budget.

NPCA is calling on Congress to end a cycle of fiscal uncertainty by agreeing on a budget deal, ending sequestration cuts, and restoring funding to America’s national parks.

Parks have seen eroding funding for years, including a steady stream of cuts since 2010, according to NPCA calculations, and are now operating at 2002 funding levels, taking into consideration sequestration and other cuts, as well as inflation.

Over the past three years, the budget to operate national parks has been cut by 13 percent, or $315 million in today's dollars, the group says. And further decreases in funding are scheduled to kick in next year as part of sequestration.

“It’s time for Congress to end the mindless sequester budget cuts and prevent a repeat of that horrible mistake,” said Craig Obey, NPCA senior vice president of government affairs. “The Park Service budget represents just one-15th of 1 percent of our federal budget—roughly half of the portion it was 30 years ago. Yet, in October we were all reminded that the $31 billion the parks generate each year is critical for local economies across the country. An investment in national parks is an investment in the financial stability of communities, as well as in the legacy we leave our kids.”

Open and Shut? - NPCA Infographic

Comments

Sobering.

A major reason I support a smaller federal government less involved in the lives of its citizens is so that those things the government should be doing will have the funding and focus they need to be done well.Cut the pork barrel political parks; get the feds out of things they have no business doing, and then we would have more than enough money to give the proper care and attention to the places that are the true treasures of national significance. Then we would not have to worry about what kind of economic activity those places generate. After all we should only really be concerned with what kind of intangible benefit they are in the hearts and minds of people. This concern on how many dollars they put in the cash registers of "gateway" communities and concessionaires is what is driving the Disnyfication of our parks anyway.

As for the sequester, I say bad cuts are better than no cuts at all.

I must not be an average American since it cost my family of four $500 to float the Colorado River and $75 to take a two night hike in the Grand Canyon (not using any maintained trails, or campgrounds) The figures presented by NPCA are disingenuous. Anyone using the parks to any degree pay a great deal more than the headline suggests. NPCA apparently believes that $3B is not enough tax money to keep the parks open and freely accessible to the public. Since NPCA doesn't mention anything about whether the ONPS increases they propose should offset the need for current and new user fees in parks, one can only conclude that it supports the current NPS fee philosophy as part of the public's fair share as well.

But slc, did that money go to NPS or to a concessionaire? There is a difference, y'know.

In both cases cited, the money goes to NPS as a private permit fee to support overall ONPS river and backcountry operations. As Kurt R. has argued previously, there is a great need for the NPS to take a hard/comprehensive look at it's fee program nationwide and see how it fits into its overall mission and purpose for being. It appears that it should do so before it or the NPCA whines about needing additional tax dollars.

The graphic specifically states that "The average american household pays $2.56 in taxes each year for our National Parks (emphasis mine). This is not disingenuous - it is not speculating on anything other than taxes.

On a separate subject, I find it fascinating how much people will spend to go to Disney. When the two are compared:

One day for one person at DisneyWorld: $95.

America the Beautiful Pass for family for a year: $80.

Tent site at Fort Wilderness for one night: $55.

Average tent site at National Park: $18.

Maybe if NPS added a rollercoaster... Or maybe Smoky Bear just doesn't have the quality publicists of Mickey Mouse.

Different strokes... their choice...


I find it fascinating how much people will spend to go to Disney. When the two are compared:


Perhaps that should tell you something.


I must not be an average American since it cost my family of four $500 to float the Colorado River and $75 to take a two night hike in the Grand Canyon (not using any maintained trails, or campgrounds) The figures presented by NPCA are disingenuous. Anyone using the parks to any degree pay a great deal more than the headline suggests.


I think I'm with dahkota on this one. I've been to quite a few national parks, where I've hiked, camped, backpacked, canoed, kayaked, snowshoed, spelunked, biked, (auto)toured, and snorkeled, and it's never cost me--or us--a fraction of that cost. In most cases, there's the entrance fee and a campsite fee, and that's it to do all these things.

But do you have ANY idea how much management, rescue, trail maintenance and other functions of inner canyon operations that support rafters and hikers cost?

I admit that I don't, but I'll bet a hamburger that it's a whole lot more than what is spent per visitor on the rims.

So could this be another case of The Great American Entitlement Mentality at work?