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CA Parks Advocates Call on Congress to Stop 'Death by a Thousand Cuts'

Federal budget cuts led to closures of California parks, beaches, visitor centers, roads, and trails.

Views of wildlfower blooms on the Mori Point headlands Photo: http://www.nps.gov/
Views of wildlfower blooms on the Mori Point headlands Photo: http://www.nps.gov/
An environmental advocacy group is calling on Congress to restore funding to national parks and released a report Thursday showing the impact
the cuts have had on the visitor experience in the Golden Gate National
Recreation Area and other parks in California.
           
The report titled "Death by a Thousand Cuts" was released Thursday
by Environment California, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, and shows that
recent budget cuts led to significant downgrades in services, including more
closures of visitor centers, reduced trash collection and delayed repairs.
           
The National Park Service's operating budget has seen a drop of $7.5 million, a 13 percent reduction, over the past three years, with drastic cuts occurring last year via federal sequestration cuts triggered by an impasse in Congress, according to the report.
           
"The cuts are really interfering with the park service's ability to protect and preserve some of the most beautiful places in California," said Nathan Weaver, a preservation advocate for Environment California.
           
The sequestration cuts led to a budget reduction of $1.4 million for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in particular, prompting visitor centers to close more days per week for delays in repairs to buildings, roads and trails, according to the report.
           
The Point Reyes National Seashore was also forced to close one of its visitor centers, close the Point Reyes Lighthouse an additional day per week and reduce evening lighthouse programs.
           
"Because of all these closures, these all interfere with the visitor experience," Weaver said.
        
According to the report, California's national parks attracted nearly 36 million visitors in 2012 and brought nearly $1.2 billion in economic benefit the year before.
           
"The National Park Service is a very smart investment for our economy," Weaver said. "We're calling on the Congressional delegation in the Bay Area to continue fighting to protect these parks."
           
Congressional spending committees will decide this month on upcoming funding levels for the park service, according to the group.
           
A National Park Service spokesperson was not immediately available Thursday to comment on the report.

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Karen January 11, 2014 at 11:35 AM
The NPS has plenty of money - they are spending millions on the dog management plan for GGNRA that will deprive dog owners of much needed recreation but do very little to protect resources
Geo Kitta January 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM
This is part of a deliberate new world order which will lead to the selling off of our national parks to the highest bidders, whether they are from the US or anywhere in the world. It's also about opening up our national parks to be exploited by oil exploration, fracking, and removal of valuable resources. It's called privatization and it's reach is broad leading to what will be a "pay to do anything that we allow you to do" world. The right and libertarians in our broken system are leading the way. Enjoy the parks while you can.
Senor Gigante January 11, 2014 at 03:30 PM
There are, obviously, too many parks to manage considering the actual year-round visitor traffic. They need to concentrate on the parks that actually draw and either privatize or sell off the others.
Geo Kitta January 11, 2014 at 04:16 PM
brilliant - you'll fit right in

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