July 18, 2014

The writers and editors at The Washington Post Magazine deserve credit for highlighting the history and importance of Rock Creek Park in the July 13 issue, “Our Wild Heart,” dedicated to the place. However, this and other parks have been badly underfunded by Congress in recent years.

Four out of every five Americans will visit a national park in their lifetime, but only 6 percent thinks the parks system is in good shape today, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. It’s easy to see why: The National Park Service faces a $12 billion maintenance backlog that affects everything from trail access to monitoring endangered species.

Our national parks are some of the most majestic and beautiful places on Earth, and local parks enrich communities across the country. We take these precious lands for granted far too often. Our natural spaces deserve the funding necessary to keep them clean and wild.

Lee Larson, Washington