NINETY-SIX YEARS ago — on Aug. 25, 1916 — Congress passed the National Park Service Organic Act. Largely in response to the Sierra Club’s call for a single federal organization to manage the nation’s parks and monuments, this remarkable piece of legislation attempted both to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects” of the parks and to “provide for the enjoyment of the same […] by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
With the funding cuts that national parks could soon face, however, posterity may no longer be able to count on the parks preserving the nation’s fruited plains and purple mountain majesties. Although Congress hasn’t yet agreed on a budget for the coming fiscal year, park officials told The Post’s Juliet Eilperin that, if lawmakers can’t decide by January, the Park Service could face a possible 8 percent decrease next year; the parks already have suffered significant cuts in recent years. The president’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 would reduce the number of full-time employees and volunteers (who require some administrative funds), which would impede the agency’s ability to maintain the land and monuments it protects.