Late last week, I received my issue of The Gettysburg Quarterly issued by the NPS. Most are aware of the budget squeezes that the NPS and Gettysburg in particular have suffered in recent years. The front page headline of the newsletter, however, immediately caught my eye and interest:
President’s NPS Budge Proposes Record Increases for Park Operations and Centennial Initiative
Here’s some snippets from the article:
The President’s $2.4 billion National Park Service budget request for Fiscal Year 2008 calls for the largest increase in park operations funding ever proposed and leveraged public-private investments that could generate as much as $3 billion to help the parks prepare for their 100th birthday in 2016. The proposed budget includes 3,000 new seasonal employees, continues increases for park maintenance, and targets specific cultural and natural resource improvements.
“All of this is possible because the President recommends a $230 million increase in park operations funding over his Fiscal Year 2007 budget request,” said Mary A. Bomar, Director of the National Park Service. “That is the larget increase ever for park operations and programs that directly benefits national parks.”…
More good news is that the FY2008 budget includes $57.5 million to fully fund employee pay and benefits…
Gettysburg funds in the proposed FY2008 budget include $968,000 in additional operating funds, including half a million dollars annually to increase interpretive programs provided by park rangers… The budget request also includes funding to hire seasonal maintenance employees and funding for the coordination of park volunteer programs.
Gettysburg, as well as all other parks, has been stripped of the needed operating funds lately, forcing them to cut back drastically on maintenance and interpretational programs. Thankfully, Gettysburg has local foundations that have been able to fund the purchases of historic sites and land, something that the GNMP hasn’t had the funds to do. These new budget requests, if passed and approved, will give our parks the breathing room necessary to continue their programs, maintenance, and employee pay and benefits.
We constantly hear our senators and representatives tout the necessity of maintaining our parks and their value to our culture – so now would be a good time to contact your legislators and tell them to put our money where their mouth is.