Last updated: April 02. 2014 8:22PM - 871 Views

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If Congress supports President Obama's recent budget proposal for the National Park Service, parks like Mammoth Cave National Park will be better prepared for their 100th anniversary in 2016.
The president's budget proposes a multi-year effort to fund national parks, which would invest more than $650 million next fiscal year. Much of this robust funding proposal seeks to create jobs and address decaying park infrastructure. The proposal also includes a significant investment of $10 million in a Centennial Initiative that will better prepare parks for their next hundred years of service by leveraging private dollars to match a long-overdue federal investment.
The more modest portion of the president's budget proposal that does not require legislation and can soon be approved by Congress in early April, would allow for a $52,000 increase for Mammoth Cave National Park and would help repair Historic Tour Cave Trails, making a smooth, stable, and sustainable surface to improve accessibility for visitors in the cave. Though modest, these funds would help the park begin to recover from years of declining investments.
Parks have recently struggled with damaging across-the-board “sequester” cuts, a government shutdown that threatened dependent local economies, and regular losses of park rangers, but now the president's proposed investment would put national parks on the road to recovery. National parks remain a critical part of local economies and offer a tremendous return on investment. A recent Park Service economic impact report showed, investing in national parks pays dividends, with every dollar invested generating roughly $10 in economic benefits.
With the National Park Service Centennial fast approaching in 2016, the National Parks Conservation Association has been urging Congress to weigh in on national park funding proposals in early April.

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