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Democrats Criticize National Parks Budget Cuts In Trump Proposal

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National Park Service
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The Mountain West is home to a large portion of the nation's national parks, including Arches National Park in Utah.

House Democrats railed against the Trump Administration’s proposed National Parks budget in a committee hearing this week.

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<--break->The Trump Administration wants to allot the National Park System about$2.7 billion. This would be about a 15% decrease. Democrats on a House Natural Resources Subcommittee said that’s not enough. They highlighted the continued maintenance backlog in the park system.

Democratic Representative Deb Halland from New Mexico called the budget proposal “reckless and irresponsible.” 

“It only raises further questions about this administration’s prioritization of certain uses over the health of our public lands,” Halland testified. 

Acting National Park Service director Daniel Smith defended the president’s proposal, saying, “There are tough decisions to be made in the budget process.” 

Smith also pointed out that he’s hoping Congress will pass a public lands infrastructure bill that would help pay for the backlog. 

National Parks saw more than 300 million visitors last year, for the fourth consecutive year in a row. 

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho,  KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.