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Put an end to national park damage

Joshua Tree National Park. Grand Canyon National Park. Death Valley National Park. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Rocky Mountain National Park. Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Boston National Historic Park. Crater Lake National Park. Canyonlands National Park. Shenandoah National Park.

These are just some of the national parks that have been impacted by the government shutdown. While we are incredibly relieved the government has reopened temporarily, we are also terribly saddened by the damage inflicted during the shutdown. Human waste spilling over toilets, trash piling up, illegal parking and off-roading destroying precious wilderness areas.

Some of the damage endured can be addressed through repair and restoration, but other impacts—like trees chopped down at Joshua Tree National Park—will be irreparable. We must do everything we can to save these special places. Send your message to the National Park Service and Congress: Conduct a thorough assessment of the damage and provide emergency funding to clean up and repair our parks.

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RE: Conduct an assessment of damage to our national parks, and fully fund their cleanup and repair


I am writing to urge the National Park Service to conduct a thorough assessment of the damage to our national parks during the government shutdown, and that Congress provides full funding to clean up and repair our affected parks identified in this assessment.

As you know, a significant number of our national parks remained open during the government shutdown - operating without the staff and resources needed to protect them and visitors from harm.

The federal government has a responsibility to care for our national parks and their visitors. The National Park Service should immediately conduct a thorough assessment to determine the extent of the damage inflicted during the shutdown. A careful inventory is the only way to determine how much additional investment each park will require - and how to prioritize these needs within an existing backlog of nearly $12 million in deferred maintenance projects. The assessment should include an accounting for the damage to the small businesses in the gateway communities who lost millions of dollars per day while the shutdown affected park visitation.

Next, Congress must allocate emergency supplemental appropriations to fund park cleanup and repair. This would be the standard procedure if a national park were affected by a hurricane or other natural disaster. In this instance, the shutdown dragged on and the damage compounded across parks nationwide. The only flexible emergency funding within the National Park Service's operating budget comes from parks' gate receipts. That money was being used to keep parks open during the shutdown, and without gate workers to collect new entry fees, the parks lost an estimated $400,000 per day according to the National Parks Conservation Association. Congressional appropriation is the only workable means to aid park recovery, and would also provide job opportunities for small businesses in park communities affected by the shutdown.

You have a responsibility to the public to protect our national parks from harm. Please do the right thing and conduct an assessment of damage to our parks, and fully fund their cleanup and repair.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
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[Your Email]