Category Archives: Parks

Towns Pick Up the Tab for U.S. Forest Service Staff

Source: Sophie Quinton, Stateline, September 19, 2018

….The visitor boom — while great for the local economy — is putting a strain on the public lands that are, ultimately, the reason people vacation, day-trip and retire to the Vail Valley. The cash-strapped U.S. Forest Service isn’t equipped to handle the more than 12 million people who now come to the 2.3-million-acre White River National Forest each year.

So, this year, Vail and other Eagle County governments are planning to set aside as much as $120,000 to pay for Forest Service employees to monitor trails and campgrounds and enforce backcountry rules next summer.

Communities across the country are facing similar challenges as more people visit public lands, outdoor recreation becomes more important to rural growth, and federal land managers struggle with tight budgets. The growth in tourism and population has led local governments to set aside tax dollars for a purpose they might never have considered before: boosting federal agencies. ….

Budget of the U.S. Government – Fiscal Year 2018

Source: Office of Management and Budget, May 2017

A New Foundation for American Greatness – President’s Budget FY 2018

Major Savings and Reforms

America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again

Analytical Perspectives
Historical Tables
Supplemental Materials
Fact Sheets
Supplementals, Amendments, and Releases
Past President’s Budgets

Greenstein: Trump Budget Proposes Path to a New Gilded Age
Source: Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, CBPP Statement, May 22, 2017

President Trump’s new budget should lay to rest any belief that he’s looking out for the millions of people the economy has left behind.

President Trump’s Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Mistake
Source: Ryan Teague Beckwith, Time, May 23, 2017

President Trump’s budget includes simple accounting error that adds up to a $2 trillion oversight.

Trump releases budget hitting his own voters hardest
Source: Andrew Restuccia , Matthew Nussbaum and Sarah Ferris, Politico, Updated: May 23, 2017

The president’s proposal for next year’s federal spending calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, including farm aid.

What Trump’s budget cuts from the social safety net
Source: Denise Lu and Kim Soffen, Washington Post, Updated May 23, 2017

On Tuesday, President Trump released his 2018 budget proposal. It makes deep cuts across many anti-poverty programs, slashing food stamps by more than a quarter and children’s health insurance by 19 percent.

Trump budget slashes money for federal lands, needy and health care
Source: Thomas Burr, The Salt Lake Tribune, May 23 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 fiscal budget would hit Utah’s needy and disabled, cut block grants to communities, slash funding for public lands and public transit projects and could hurt rural airport services.

How the Trump Budget Undermines Economic Security for Working Families
Source: Rebecca Vallas, Harry Stein, Eliza Schultz, Neil Campbell, Kate Bahn, Regina Willensky, Kevin DeGood, Antoinette Flores, Ethan Gurwitz, Alexandra Thornton, and Angela Hanks, Center for American Progress, May 23, 2017

With an administration chock full of self-serving millionaires and billionaires, it comes as little surprise that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would be an enormous windfall for the wealthiest Americans. But the degree to which it privileges the 1 percent at the expense of nearly everyone else—breaking Trump’s campaign promises to restore prosperity to everyday Americans—is staggering. Notably, by calling for cuts to Social Security, the budget violates one of Trump’s most significant promises.

Indeed, his proposed repeal of the estate tax alone—a tax that only affects the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates—would cost the same as feeding more than 6 million seniors for a year through Meals on Wheels, a program facing deep cuts under the Trump budget.

And that is just one of several massive giveaways to the wealthy that President Trump calls for in this budget proposal while slashing critical investments in education, infrastructure, jobs, and more that make it possible for workers and families to get ahead. Here are seven ways that President Trump’s budget proposal threatens to do them serious damage.

Trump’s Budget Would Hit These States the Hardest
Source: Sam Petulla, NBC News, May 23, 2017

The Trump administration unveiled a budget for 2018 on Tuesday that seeks to overhaul many of the country’s safety-net programs for low-income and struggling Americans. Though these cuts are popular among Republican lawmakers, they affect programs that are actually more commonly used in Republican-leaning states than in Democratic ones, and that in many cases benefit white voters without college degrees — a demographic group that strongly supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
The programs experiencing the deepest cuts provide assistance for health care services to children, the poor and disabled, and that supplement food and housing for those with low incomes. Most of the programs were created decades ago by Democratic presidents.

5 Ways Parks Provide a Return on Investment

Source: Isabel Munson and Ed Krafcik, Cities Speak, September 15, 2016

Parks and public spaces are an integral part of the atmosphere and culture of a city or town. More than that, though, they have a massive positive financial impact – one that is generally overlooked…
Smart Parks
Source: Soofa, Smart Cities Research Series, March 2016

In our work with cities across the U.S. we identified a need for better tools to measure the positive impact of parks. We believe that with the right technology and data, park users and park champions can be empowered to do a better job communicating the value of parks, and achieving the goals of parks departments.

We created this white paper to emphasize the scale of parks’ influence and the importance of innovating in public space. Turning to technology and new uses for parks will be of even greater importance as parks fight for funding due to budget cuts and aging infrastructure needs.

Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs: Results of a Survey of The American Public

Source: John Loomis, Michelle Haefele, Linda Bilmes, National Park Foundation (NPF), June 30, 2016

From the press release:
Today, the National Park Foundation (NPF) announced the first-ever study providing a comprehensive economic valuation of America’s national parks and the programming provided by the National Park Service (NPS). The study, conducted by Professor John Loomis and Research Associate Michelle Haefele, both at Colorado State University, and Professor Linda Bilmes of the Harvard Kennedy School, determined the total economic value (TEV) of national parks and the National Park Service’s programs to be $92 billion.

The study, a reporting of total economic value, clearly demonstrates the public’s shared perception of the incredible benefits of national parks and programs, whether they personally visit parks or not. In fact, 95% of the American public said that protecting national parks for future generations was important and 80% would pay higher federal taxes to ensure the protection and preservation of the National Park System…..
Americans think national parks are worth US$92 billion, but we don’t fund them accordingly
Source: John Loomis, Linda Bilmes, The Conversation, July 10, 2016

Attacks Against Federal Range And Forest Workers On Rise – 2015 Saw Spike in Reported Threats and Interference on Federal Lands in West

Source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Press Release, May 31, 2016

Assaults against national forest and rangeland employees and facilities rose sharply last year, according to figures released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Reported incidents nearly doubled (87% increase) on rangelands overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and increased by more than half (60%) on national forests. ….

….The figures collected from agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cover the year after the 2014 armed stan-off with renegade rancher Cliven Bundy but before the seizure of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon by armed militia led by two of Bundy’s sons. They show –
– The biggest annual jump in threats and assaults was seen by the BLM where reported incidents nearly doubled from 15 to 28 instances;
– After a couple of years of declining incidents, reported threats and assaults spiked for the U.S. Forest Service, where incidents rose from 97 to 155;
– The National Park Service posted a slight rise in incidents, as did the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration; and
– The U.S. Park Police, which patrols urban parks, primarily in Washington DC, saw a sharp (nearly 60%) drop in 2015 from an all-time record number of violent incidents in 2014 (from 120 to 49). Meanwhile, the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, the agency managing national wildlife refuges, reported a slight drop in overall incidents. ….
See agency self-reported totals
View the annual summaries from the: BLM, Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Park Service, Park Police, NOAA
Look at public safety threat posed by militias

Public Parks and Wellbeing in Urban Areas of the United States

Source: Lincoln R. Larson, Viniece Jennings, Scott A. Cloutier, PLoS ONE, Published: April 7, 2016

From the abstract:
Sustainable development efforts in urban areas often focus on understanding and managing factors that influence all aspects of health and wellbeing. Research has shown that public parks and green space provide a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits to urban residents, but few studies have examined the influence of parks on comprehensive measures of subjective wellbeing at the city level. Using 2014 data from 44 U.S. cities, we evaluated the relationship between urban park quantity, quality, and accessibility and aggregate self-reported scores on the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index (WBI), which considers five different domains of wellbeing (e.g., physical, community, social, financial, and purpose). In addition to park-related variables, our best-fitting OLS regression models selected using an information theory approach controlled for a variety of other typical geographic and socio-demographic correlates of wellbeing. Park quantity (measured as the percentage of city area covered by public parks) was among the strongest predictors of overall wellbeing, and the strength of this relationship appeared to be driven by parks’ contributions to physical and community wellbeing. Park quality (measured as per capita spending on parks) and accessibility (measured as the overall percentage of a city’s population within ½ mile of parks) were also positively associated with wellbeing, though these relationships were not significant. Results suggest that expansive park networks are linked to multiple aspects of health and wellbeing in cities and positively impact urban quality of life.

2015 NPS Visitor Spending Effects Report: Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation

Source: Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Lynne Koontz, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2016/1200, April 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the Nation’s most iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors from across the Nation and around the world. Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. This economic effects analysis measures how NPS visitor spending cycles through local economies, generating business sales and supporting jobs and income.

In 2015, the National Park System received over 307.2 million recreation visits. NPS visitors spent $16.9 billion in local gateway regions (defined as communities within 60 miles of a park). The contribution of this spending to the national economy was 295 thousand jobs, $11.1 billion in labor income, $18.4 billion in value added, and $32.0 billion in economic output. The lodging sector saw the highest direct contributions with $5.2 billion in economic output directly contributed to local gateway economies nationally. The sector with the next greatest direct contributions was the restaurants and bars sector, with $3.4 billion in economic output directly contributed to local gateway economies nationally…..

Visitor Spending Effects
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, 2016

This interactive tool is a collaboration between the NPS and the U.S. Geological Survey and displays results from the Visitor Spending Effects report series. Economic contributions of NPS visitor spending are displayed at the national, state, and local levels.

National Parks Have A Long To-Do List But Can’t Cover The Repair Costs

Source: Nathan Rott, NPR, Morning Edition, March 8, 2016

…..Joshua Tree National Park, like most of the 409 areas managed by the National Park Service, gets the bulk of its money from Congress. It’s appropriated year by year, and in recent years usually comes to about $3 billion annually. Entrance fees, philanthropy and concession sales bring in more money to the park system, but National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis says it’s not enough. That much money may have covered the tab for the park system years ago, but not anymore.

When the money’s tight, some jobs don’t get done — and those jobs start to pile up. Today, the total backlog of needed maintenance at U.S. national parks is $11.9 billion. That backlog includes $500 million in needed repairs at Yosemite National Park, $100 million of which is considered critical. Grand Canyon National Park needs $330 million, due largely to outstanding wastewater and water system upgrades. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which saw a record 15 million visitors last year, needs $478 million to help address the wear and tear from all of those drivers…….