Trust for Public Land Statement on Budget Cuts and Parks for People
On Friday March 1, the federal budget will be cut sharply in a way that will have a large impact on American families, limiting their ability to visit our national parks, and steeply reducing the protection of other parks, forests, and places where people enjoy the outdoors.
The cuts will be set in motion unless the White House and Congress agree on a last-minute way to avoid them. They are across the board and involve all departments of the federal government.
The cuts will hurt effective programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is not paid for with taxpayer money and, which already has been slashed even though it has helped protect many of our national parks, trails, and forests. Some of the federal budget also helps pay for state and local parks and trails – and they will be hurt, too. And that means people won’t be able to enjoy as many opportunities to get outdoors and use nearby trails, parks, and picnic areas.
Each of us has a favorite place outdoors. Whether it’s a park or a trail we enjoy with our family or friends, a place to get outdoors for exercise, or simply somewhere to stop and explore the natural wonders around us, everyone has a place that is special.
Aside from enjoying nature, outdoor recreation helps support local jobs. In fact, a recent study showed that outdoor recreation creates millions of jobs.
In addition, we all know parks are important to a healthy lifestyle. And the cuts hurt there, too: the Environmental Protection Agency will be less able to make sure the air we breathe and the water we drink are clean. And the National Institutes of Health will have to cut back on efforts to reduce childhood obesity.
We agree the federal budget needs to be scrutinized and tough choices need to be made. But these indiscriminate cuts aren’t the way to reduce federal spending – they won’t be good for anyone and over the long term, they won’t make much of a dent in our fiscal problems.