National parks won't be the only victims of budget cuts - other programs to be hit hard

USFWS staff shows flower to youth. Refuges will also see cuts from the sequestration. 

USFWS, Pacific-Southwest region

Massive budget cuts will soon start shuttering visitor centers, closing trails, and furloughing park rangers in wild places across the nation.

As of March 1, cuts – known as sequestration – will be affecting every federal agency, including the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service and other environmental agencies.

Indiscriminate cuts are not just going to hit national parks (although those will be some of the most visible to American families on vacation).

Tell Congress to protect national parks and wildlands from the budget cuts

Examples of what budget cuts in the sequestration deal will do:

  • undermine efforts to prevent wildfires in National Forests

  • stall attempts to halt the spread of a bat-killing fungus

  • hamstring law enforcement officials that are cracking down on smuggling rings 

  • derail habitat restoration efforts

  • slash funding for trail restoration 

  • furlough thousands of staff who work in wildlands management

Photo: A forester plants a seedling in a burned area of the Lake Tahoe Basin, USFS Region 5.

Report: Cuts should be made to outdated oil and gas subsidies - not wildlands

A new report from nearly 30 environmental groups, including The Wilderness Society, outlines some of the specific effects of sequestration. The report has been taken to Capitol Hill, and given to Members of Congress and their staffs so that they can see exactly what the cuts will mean.

If Congress is serious about saving money, the report highlights more than $760 billion in savings that could be gained more appropriately without harming our important environmental programs -  such as unnecessary tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

Tell Congress to put budget cuts where they belong

Conservation programs make up a tiny portion of the federal budget – only 1.26%. Even if all of them were completely eliminated, it wouldn’t make the smallest dent in the budget deficit. However, many of the programs have benefits that wildly outweigh their costs.

  • Clean Air and Clean Water rules that saved Americans between $21-$168 billion thanks to health benefits.

  • $1.6 trillion in ecosystem services – like the water supplies for 66 million Americans that come from National Forests.

  • The  $646 billion spent for  outdoor recreation that generates $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and 12 million U.S. jobs.

A choice between subsidizing climate-change-causing, land-destroying fossil fuels and keeping America’s parks open, forests healthy, and air and water clean shouldn’t be a choice at all.

Read the report – Losing Our Heritage: Budget Cut Impacts and the Environment

Loosing Our Heritage Budget Cut Impacts and our Environment.pdf by The Wilderness Society

See also: 

National park travel threatened by budget cuts: list of parks to be affected

What sequestration will mean for California's national parks

National parks serve as powerful economic engine