Juliet Eilperin reports on the desperate state of America's most treasured landscapes and historic resources, as the products of staffing cuts and deferred maintenance and construction are becomming harder to ignore.
According to Thomas Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association, without a major influx of funds, "conditions at the parks will continue deteriorating and visits could drop sharply."
"It's clear that inadequate federal funding is the number one threat to the future of the national parks and the national park idea," Kiernan said. "We're at a crossroads of historic importance here."
Despite bipartisan support for the parks, "Park managers say they are alarmed at the prospect of both next year's budget and a possible 8 percent across-the-board cut if negotiators fail to reach a budget deal by January," writes Eilperin. "The president's fiscal 2013 budget proposal - which was largely adopted by the House Appropriations Committee - would cut 218 full-time jobs, or 763 seasonal employees."