Superintendent Tollefson and Conservationists Agree, Budget Cuts Are Hurting Our National Parks

In Environment, News America faces a stiff challenge to prevent deterioration of its national parks because of tight budgets, park superintendents and conservationists say.

Yosemite and other parks have slowed repairs on trails, roads and campgrounds, and reduced nature hikes because there are fewer rangers to lead them, park superintendents said Monday in a public hearing by a subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee.

“I don’t the average visitor notices it, but it could affect their park experience if it continues.” said Mike Tollefson, the Yosemite Park superintendent.

Conservationists were grimmer in their assessment.

“Each year the deterioration has significant impacts,” said Gene Sykes, chairman of the National Park Conservation Association.

Reduction in the number of rangers has put the public at risk by failing to stop drug cartels from planting booby-trapped marijuana farms in areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks east of Visalia, Sykes said.

Rep Mark Souder, R-Indiana, said his subcommittee is holding several hearings around the country to take a broad look at the condition of the park system and what can be done to improve it.

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