According a report from the US National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) our National Parks are in bad condition. This is apparently caused by a myriad of effects such as, pollution, invasive species, climate change, energy and land development, and chronic funding shortfalls.
The study by the NPCA took 10 years to complete and it is the first thorough look at how America’s national parks are doing and the outlook is cause for concern.
Conditions were analyzed at 80 national parks across the US, which is a 20% sample of parks in the National Park System.
The report warns that cultural resources such as battlefields and prehistoric sites have received far less attention and funding than natural resources and are threatened by looting, vandals and a lack of qualified staff to interpret their meaning for visitors. In addition the national parks are suffering from an ever increasing maintenance backlog that now exceeds $10,000,000.
The role of curator and protector of historic artifacts and cultural gems is an often forgotten role of the National Park Service and in spite of the two-thirds of the units designated to protect important historic and cultural sites, the agency suffers from lack of trained staff or funding.
Cultural resources too are in a state of decay at over 90% of the parks surveyed. “The Park Service estimates that more than 60% of the 27,000 historic structures need repair or maintenance. Many parks lack adequate documentation and research on their cultural resources, and their artifacts are insufficiently monitored - theft and deterioration easily go unnoticed.”
To read the report click on The State of America’s National Parks.
The National Parks Conservation Association website is a good place to visit for more information. You can also download the report from the site along with a multi-media slide show of images from the report.
To read an article written by SustainableBusiness.com News focusing on the important aspects of Air, Water, Wildlife at Risk click on the link.