Budget cuts prompt land agencies to consider alternative funding sources

Yellowstone National Park has received $600,000 from a private foundation to cover project expenses not covered due to federal budget cuts.

flickr, jeffgunn

Sweeping federal budget cuts are already seriously impacting wild lands across the nation. Agencies that manage America's lands are struggling to cope with inadequate funding.

So it should come as no surprise that many are now looking for other options to help pay their bills. Here's a summary of some of the ideas currently being explored.


Private funding for National Parks

National Parks have had their budgets slashed, leading to major changes in operations. But these parks still must face visitor demands, biological challenges and staffing constraints. This has forced some parks to turn to private fundraising.

For example, in the past month Yellowstone National Park received $600,000 from a private foundation to complete various projects. Glacier National Park also had to turn to a conservancy organization for $10,000 to help them plow the park's major road. 

This video is a discussion of the many implications of private funding for National Parks:


Secure conservation funding

Not all lands will have the ability to raise the money they need, which is why The Wilderness Society continues to advocate for more secure conservation funding. Earlier this month, our Director of Conservation Funding Alan Rowsome spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to advocate on behalf of all wilderness lovers for increased funding for the next fiscal year.


Other alternatives

These aren't the only ideas on the table though. More possibilities include raising the federal gas tax by a penny to establish a revenue fund.

Unfortunately, there is also a chance that parks will need to charge higher entrance fees, which currently cost between $5 to $20. Although this raises about $160 million each year in revenues, these funds cannot be used for operational costs. 


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