Do you think we should get rid of the National Park Service? The Forest Service? Department of Interior? Yeah, neither do we.
But a couple weeks ago, the Trump Administration threatened to dismantle the agencies responsible for taking care of our cherished national parks, national forests, and other public lands. They ordered a review of federal agencies to identify which ones should be eliminated or drastically cut in the name of streamlining government. Public lands depend on public agencies to manage them and any proposal to get rid of these agencies is an attack on the foundation that keeps our public lands public.
The Administration is asking for the public to weigh in by June 12, and we need to tell them loud and clear that protecting public lands and the public land agencies that manage them is a big deal.
You can submit your comments here (https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=OMB_FRDOC_0001-0201) by cutting and pasting the following language. It’s always better if you customize, so if you have the time, add some individualized comments too. Make sure to uncheck “I am submitting on behalf of a third party”, enter your name, and click continue.
Please accept my comments on Executive Order 13781 that directs OMB to identify agencies and functions that should be eliminated, transferred to non-federal entities, or modified. I write to you today to express my strong support for continued and robust investment in the conservation and recreation programs of the land management agencies: the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. Together, these agencies administer on behalf of the American people 674 million acres of lands that see over half a billion visits annually.
For a modest investment (less than 0.4% of the federal budget), our federal land management agencies generate innumerable benefits worth billions of dollars. They provide us clean water and air, trails and campgrounds, and unmatchable outdoor recreation experiences.
Consider that recreational visits to parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands generate $33 billion in direct spending and nearly 600,000 jobs, and contribute $37 billion to GDP annually. Consider also that the clean water that our national forests provide to over 66 million people in 3,400 communities in 33 states is worth over$7.2 billion annually. In that same vein, clean air, clean water and other ecological services provided by our National Wildlife Refuges provide $32.3 billion in benefits to local communities. In the aggregate, they fuel a $887 billion outdoor recreation economy that generates 7.6 million jobs.
I understand the link between healthy lands and healthy lifestyles. I therefore urge you not to cut – and in fact invest more – in the conservation and recreation programs administered by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.