New York’s National Seashores, Monuments Underfunded, Under Threat

Media Contacts
Heather Leibowitz

New Analysis Details Impacts of Budget Cuts to Beloved Parks

Environment New York Research & Policy Center

As Congress approaches another deadline on the federal budget, a new Environment New York Research & Policy Center analysis, entitled Death by a Thousand Cuts, exposes the challenges facing Fire Island National Seashore as a result of mounting funding cuts to the National Park Service.

“At Fire Island National Seashore, the sequester cuts led to a budget reduction of $241,731.  This forced the park superintendent to close visitor centers two days a week, and remove all lifeguards at Talisman and Barrett Beach,” said Eric Whalen, field organizer with Environment New York. “We don’t want a death by a thousand cuts for Fire Island and our other national parks, monuments and seashores.”

New York’s national parks, monuments and seashores provide critical habitat for wildlife like bald eagles, and recreational opportunities for New Yorkers. Visitors to our parks have been enjoying hiking, canoeing, bird watching, and other activities for generations.

Parks closures during last fall’s government shutdown capped off the third straight year in which Congress cut funding to the National Park Service operating budget. Additional cuts from the March 2013 sequester make for a 13 percent reduction in funding for our parks in today’s dollars over this period.

“Let’s give our parks a fresh start in 2014,” added Whalen. “If we continue on this path, our grandchildren could be forced to explore parking lots and fracking wells instead of river valleys and mountaintops.”

While the budget deal passed in December may allow for some increase in the parks budget, it is up to Congressional spending committees to decide the actual funding levels this month. 

“We urge Congress to stand up for places like Fire Island National Seashore and the rest of New York’s national parks national parks by ensuring they’re provided the full funding they desperately need during the upcoming budget negotiations,” Whalen concluded. “New York park lovers are counting on it.”