Friday, November 6, 2009

Good News for National Parks

The National Parks and Conservation Association just sent me e-mail with exciting news for our national park system. President Obama has signed the bill that funds the Interior Department and the national parks received 218 million dollars more than last year for a total of 2.7 billion dollars.
Here some of the highlights of the e-mail:

  • NPS Operations received roughly $130 million above last year's funding level, which fulfills the President's pledge to increase park operations $100 million above inflation.
  • The NPS portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund--a fund used to purchase critical lands now on the market for conservation and public recreation--received $126.26 million. This is an increase of $61 million over last year's level and $28 million above the President's request.
  • Public-Private Partnerships, previously known as the Centennial Challenge, was funded at $15 million.
  • A potentially harmful rider that would have required a public hunt to manage the growing elk population at Theodore Roosevelt National Park was removed. The rider would have overridden longstanding agency-wide policy.
  • Most importantly, and beyond the numbers, the NPS is now better able to hire more rangers, fill out the authorized boundaries of many parks, enhance its ability to address the impacts of climate change on our national parks, and preserve America's Everglades, Great Lakes, and other nationally-significant ecosystems.
  • This is hopefully good news for the Grand Canyon and other Arizona national parks. I'll be heading to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum tomorrow to photograph the Mexican Gray Wolves that are housed there. I hope to use the photo's to raise money for supporting Gray Wolf reintroduction efforts.

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