“More than 327 million visitors descended on the National Park System in 2019, a number that is seen as the third-highest single year tally dating to 1904, yet the head count comes at a time when some parks are overcrowded, National Park Service ranks are depleted, and Congress continues to fail to both adequately address year-to-year funding for the parks and attack the roughly $12 billion maintenance backlog.
While Interior Secretary David Bernhardt heralded the head count of 327.5 million as a tribute to the Trump administration’s leadership, the cheering belies the troubles facing both the park system and the Park Service.
* According to Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility, the Park Service has lost 3,500 positions, or 16 percent of its workforce, since 2011;
* The maintenance backlog across the park system continues to be a drag on employee and visitor safety, facilities, and natural resources;
* President Trump’s proposed FY21 budget calls for a 17 percent cut in funding for the Park Service, as well as a workforce reduction of nearly 1,000.”