Parks Crumbling

REPORT TO SHOW SUMMER 2006 IN U.S. NATIONAL PARKS WILL MEAN DECREASED VISITOR SAFETY, ENDANGERED RESOURCES, MORE SHUTTERED AND CRUMBLING FACILITIES NPS Retirees Review of ³Sad State of Affairs² in 37 Parks Finds Budget Cuts, Failure to Keep Ahead of Costs Now Reaching Critical Stage; Concerns Grow About Perils Posed by Slashed Law Enforcement Staffing and Reduced Emergency Response Capabilities WASHINGTON, D.C.//News Advisory//As millions of Americans head out on their summer vacations, many of America's budget-strapped national parks will be noticeably less safe and appealing this summer, according to a major new report to be released on June 15th by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR), an organization of 515 NPS employees with more than 15,000 years of accumulated experience. In a finding that should concern both individual park visitors and national lawmakers entrusted with protecting America's ³crown jewels² for future generations, the CNPSR review of 37 parks (including 17 surveyed in detail by the Coalition for the forthcoming report) warns of ³decreased safety for visitors, longer emergency response times, endangerment of protected resources, and dirtier and less well-maintained parks.² This troubling note is being sounded by CNPSR in the wake of the National Park Service mounting a major ³National Parks: The Place to be for Family Fun in 2006² promotion campaign that makes no reference to budget-related problems in terms of visitor safety, reduced emergency response capabilities, service cuts, at-risk natural resources, and crumbling facilities. News event speakers will be: * Bill Wade, the former superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and chair of the Coalition's Executive Council; and * Bill Supernaugh, the former Superintendent of Badlands National Park and a member of the CNPSR Executive Council. The 17 parks surveyed in detail by the Coalition were as follows (alphabetically): Acadia National Park; Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; Biscayne National Park; Blue Ridge Parkway; Denali National Park; Fort Smith National Historic Site; Gettysburg National Military Park; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Independence National Historical Park; Lassen Volcanic National Park; Central High School National Historic Site; Olympic National Park; Ozark National Scenic Riverways; Rocky Mountain National Park; Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River; and Redwoods National Park. In addition, CNPSR reviewed budget-related reports for the following national parks (alphabetically): Antietam National Battlefield; Arkansas Post National Memorial; Bryce Canyon National Park; Big Bend National Park; Canyonlands National Park; Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site; Ford's Theatre National Historic Site; Fort Sumter National Monument; Glacier National Park; Grand Canyon National Park; Grand Teton National Park; Harpers Ferry National Historical Park; Hot Springs National Park; Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Shenandoah National Park; Statue of Liberty National Monument; Valley Forge National Historical Park; Yellowstone National Park; Yosemite National Park; and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. TO PARTICIPATE: You can join this live, phone-based national news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 1:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. CT/11:30 a.m. MT/10:30 a.m. PT on June 15, 2006 by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442. Ask for the "national park summer survey" news event. CAN'T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at http://www.npsretirees.org as of 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT/4 p.m. MT/3 p.m. PT on June 15, 2006. CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or [email protected]. The more than 515 members of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees are all former employees of the National Park Service (NPS) with a combined 15,000 years of stewardship of America's most precious natural and cultural resources. In their personal lives, CNPSR members reflect the broad spectrum of political affiliations. CNPSR members have served their country well, and their credibility and integrity in speaking out on national park issues should not go ignored. The Coalition counts among its members five former directors or deputy directors of the National Park Service; 24 former regional directors or deputy regional directors; 31 former associate or assistant directors at the national or regional office level; 68 former division chiefs at the national or regional office level; and 128 former park superintendents or assistant superintendents.