Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BIG Shortfall in the National Park Service Budget...and Ultrarunning

Seems that our beloved NPS--and when I say "beloved" I am not being facetious, this is a vital agency for the things we love--and which has an approximately $11.5 billion backlog on deferred maintenance costs, according to this mainstream Marketplace article.

The article focused on the famous DC cherry blossoms, in full bloom as we speak, but it's part of the larger issue that affects all 50 states:
Craig Obey, the senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, said that the federal neglect of the National Park Service’s funding is a bipartisan problem that has grown more severe in the past 30 years.

“I think the parks have been dealing with less for quite a while, they’ve been asked to do more with less and we are at the point where they’re able to do less with less,” Obey said.

And indeed, the “less” is lessening, Obey said, “because the Park Service gets about between $200 and $300 million less than they need each year just to keep it even, not even to begin reducing it.”
Too bad there is not sufficient money elsewhere in the national budget that we could prioritize for this purpose.  Wait!!!...maybe I just found some money:

The future bill from the Afghan war is likely to run into hundreds of billions of dollars more. The Pentagon has indicated it wants funding of $120 billion for 2016-19 for operations in Afghanistan, although the eventual cost will depend on the future mission that the White House decides on.

This on top of the $765 billion already spent, according to the CNBC article.
Do you think that maybe we could spend this money on parks instead of war?  Butter instead of guns?  Trails on which to run in the backcountry instead of airfields and bases?  And leave a better legacy for our children and grandchildren?

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