National Parks May See Small Budget Increase

April 02, 2014

Supporters of the National Park system are watching Congress carefully as it reviews the president’s budget this month. President Barack Obama is proposing a small increase of $55 million in the budget for the national parks, including $10 million to get ready for the 100th anniversary of the Park Service.

John Gardner of the National Parks Conservation Association says it’s a promising step after years of cutting park maintenance and staffing.

“It’s a modest increase over last year,” Gardner said. “It doesn’t get parks back to where they were just a few years ago before damaging cuts to ensure that people can have a really inspiring and a safe experience out in our parks.”

Gardner says the Park Service has put off about $12 million of maintenance in recent years.  Grand Canyon National Park alone has an estimated backlog of $300 million for maintenance, including $44 million for trail maintenance, repair and improvement.

Arizona’s national parks and monuments attract about 10 million visitors a year, who spend $750 million annually in nearby cities and towns.