A Trip Down America’s Parks

Our days may be consumed by work or school but we still make it a point to unwind once the weekend comes. Rest day is for the family and spending quality time with them is a must. Malls and theme parks may be a staple when it comes to a family getaway but let us not forget that the country is full of beautiful public and state parks where your family can have a good time at a fraction of the price.

Take the time to get in touch with the entire family minus any techy gadgets and enjoy the beauty of nature. Nothing compares to the relief of breathing the fresh air and the joy of sleeping under the stars.And now is the best time to commune with nature when

And now is the best time to commune with nature when these important parks are still around. They may be gone in the years to come with constant threats of modernization and human abuse. Furthermore, not receiving the funding and attention it needs from the national government contributes to their degradation.

Over the past few years there have been budget cutbacks for state parks across the US, which have resulted in a reduction in management staff, lack of new equipment, and shorter visitor center hours. In 2016, general funding for Wyoming’s Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources was cut by 7.18 percent. As a result, park employees have struggled with loss of staff. Last year, funding to Connecticut’s state parks was reduced by 10 percent, and in West Virginia, cuts led to the closure of several state park pools along with employees layoffs. Both Utah and Alabama have struggled to buy equipment under budget constraints, and Alabama closed five state parks in 2016, though several have since reopened. Over the past several years, California, too, has struggled with the idea of closing dozens of state parks due to budget cuts and maintenance backlogs, among other factors.

However, the future of these parks does not look promising with budget cuts from the new administration.

Proper funding is essential to maintaining our state parks and the ecosystems they preserve, but with the cut in funding in Wisconsin, it is uncertain where money will come from. In late 2016, the state Department of Natural Resources, which operates the parks, outlined options for generating additional funds for the park system. Proposals included further raising the price of admission, higher camping fees, and the authority to solicit donations and sponsorships, but Ben Bergey, state parks director, says major funding changes must come from the legislature. “It’s not really fair,” says Stacey Balsley, president of the Waukesha County Green Team, a local environmental organization in Wisconsin. “We need to look at this plan again and ask ourselves if it’s sustainable for the future of our parks. There is a real threat of decline in our parks, and we need to step up and do something about it.”

(Via: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/fight_for_funding_in_americas_state_parks/)

And many can’t hide their disappointment about the new administration’s policies that aim to cut the funding on health, safety, education, the environment, the workplace and the overall economy in favor of things like homeland and border security.

“It’s fitting for President Trump to release his budget in March, because this is simply madness. This budget would decimate the very foundation of what makes America great: our parks, public lands and historic leadership on conservation. Instead of investing in conservation programs that provide clean drinking water, protect public health and support a booming outdoor recreation economy, Trump is rigging the system to solely benefit oil executives and private developers at the expense of essential conservation programs that benefit all Americans.”
Cameron Witten, government relations and budget specialist, The Wilderness Society

“Trump’s budget will accomplish nothing besides making it easier for corporate polluters to boost their profits at the expense of our families and the places we love. Plans to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior clearly show that Trump’s billionaire budget is only helping Wall Street and corporate polluters, not our wildlife and natural legacy, our nearly $650 billion outdoor economy or the air our children breathe and the water they drink.”
Melinda Pierce, legislative director, Sierra Club

“Polluters won’t police themselves and water pollution doesn’t stop itself. President Trump’s billionaires’ budget makes huge cuts to the EPA that would strain its ability to enforce landmark laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. This reckless budget would make it harder to stop polluters from destroying sources of drinking water and threaten EPA’s ability to identify water pollution threats, to set strong protections for our rivers, lakes, bays, streams and wetlands, and to enforce laws that protect public health.”
Bob Wendelgass, president and CEO, Clean Water Action

(Via: https://yubanet.com/opinions/clean-budget-coalition-trumps-rigged-budget-would-endanger-american-families-and-communities/)

The wildlife population in these parks are also in danger. These parks are perhaps the last frontier in the country for most of these animals and they have nowhere else to go once these parks disappear. Our hands are already tainted with the extinction of many animals in the planet because of poaching, loss of their homes, etc., among the most recent, is the Western Black Rhino.

The entire country will suffer once we lose our natural parks and wildlife. The new administration does not realize the gravity of their policies right now. We may end up losing many of our national parks to most land developers with a simple budget cut in say, land protection. And environmental issues like this can worsen climate change, a problem that has disastrous consequences for our planet if not addressed right away.

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