To the editor:
In an Aug. 17 editorial (“Death Valley National Park needs quicker fix for roads”), the Review-Journal smartly points out that a change is needed. As the desert cools in the coming months, our largest national park in the lower 48 states will begin to see a second wave of visitors who will require access to Badwater Road to explore the park’s many gems. The impact of the park’s more than 940,000 annual visitors is seen long after they drive away. In 2011, park service data shows that visitors infused local economies with more than $50 million.
However, the National Parks Conservation Association disagrees with the editorial in that we believe congressional action is just what is needed to help the park recover. With the current sequester-imposed cuts, Death Valley has been forced to furlough employees and decrease funding for responding to emergencies such as the flood damage to Badwater Road. Similar scenarios are playing out at our 401 national park sites across the country.
When Congress returns from its summer recess, our elected officials and President Barack Obama need to work together to end this budget impasse, so they can restore funding for our country’s most treasured places.
Lynn Davis is the National Parks Conservation Association’s senior program manager for Nevada.