According to a new poll commissioned by the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Hospitality Association, 95% of Americans cherish the national parks and feel it is appropriate for the federal government to ensure they are protected for the future. To view the survey results, please click here.
We’ve highlighted some of the key findings:
- In a variety of ways voters see national parks as the essence of America the Beautiful, majestic, awe-inspiring places to be revered, cherished, and protected. In fact, 95 percent of voters see “protecting and supporting the National Parks” as an appropriate role for the federal government.
- Voters associate National Parks with key priorities and important American values. Nearly 90 percent of voters think that candidates who prioritize National Parks are seen as:
Support for National Parks is personal for millions of Americans—81 percent of voters report having visited a National Park at some point in their lives, and nearly nine in 10 say they are interested in visiting in the future.
- Caring about the environment
- Protecting our heritage for future generations
- A good steward of our nation’s resources
- Forward looking
- Understanding what makes America special
- Even in these difficult fiscal circumstances, very few voters from either side of the political aisle say the federal government should be cutting back on funding for National Parks.
- National Parks are highly valued by voters, who see them as home to some of the most majestic, beautiful, and awe-inspiring places in the world. Yet few voters (6 percent) think National Parks are in good shape today, while many more (80 percent) express concern that funding shortages are damaging National Parks and marring visitors’ park experiences.
- Voters see the 2016 centennial as a great way to engage citizens on the value of National Parks, and 77 percent of voters say it is important for the next president to ensure that parks are fully restored and ready to serve and be relevant to this country for another hundred years.
Our president and congressional representatives should be among the 95 percent of Americans who care about our national parks. This is especially important now as debates over the federal budget continue. National parks protect our natural and cultural heritage and provide affordable vacation destinations for American families, but the budget to operate national parks has already been cut by 13 percent over the last three years in today’s dollars. More cuts could be devastating.
Take Action: Please contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to restore adequate funding to the National Park Service budget. The American people deserve better than closed campgrounds, vacant visitor centers, and history unpreserved. Tell your story and remind our leaders why parks matter.
During the 16-day federal government shutdown this past October, the Blue Ridge Parkway community was heavily affected. “It’s like closing a shopping mall at Christmas time,” said Phil Francis, former Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, in an interview with The Huffington Post about the effects of the shutdown on regional tourism. “It’s the time of year where you either make it, or don’t make it.” The Blue Ridge Parkway receives more visitors in October than any other national park. 60,000 visitors spend $4.1 million each day.
To volunteer, donate or to become a member of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway go to www.FriendsBRP.org or call 800-228-PARK (7275). FRIENDS is the only volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization solely dedicated to protecting, preserving, enhancing and celebrating the nation’s most visited park and American favorite scenic drive. FRIENDS’ more than 10,000 members work to ensure the Parkway’s future through stewardship and fundraising that support volunteer service projects, as well as youth and adult education programs.