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National Parks May See Small Budget Increase
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.