From the Everglades to Big Cypress our national parks inspire visitors from across the world and support local economies nationwide. However, parks have been challenged by funding cuts over the past three years, and as Congress debates how to address the deficit, they could see additional, more damaging cuts in the near future.
Not only does this mean that national parks could have fewer rangers to educate us, help plan our visits and respond to emergencies, but also that parks will not have the funding to adequately maintain hiking trails, protect wildlife, preserve historic buildings or keep visitor centers and campgrounds open.
Under the detrimental across-the-board cuts scheduled for January, even some closures would be likely. Florida’s parks are vital to the success of our local diving centers. As a top tourist attraction, they cost us less than 1 percent of the federal budget, supporting $31 billion of private-sector spending and 258,000 jobs each year. We must ensure they have the funding needed so that local businesses that depend on them can continue to provide great services like taking visitors diving in and around these amazing places.
Valerie Kevorkian, Miami Beach