Letter to the Editor

April 8, 2014

Dear Editor,

Our beloved Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is critical to the local economy. It supports over 700 jobs in our community and brings in $50 million in visitor spending to local businesses. During the government shutdown, we saw firsthand that Americans love our national parks and want them open and well-funded, especially as we approach the national parks’ 100th anniversary.

As highlighted in your newspaper recently (“POTUS budget proposal to invest in parks”), president Obama’s budget proposes a significant investment to restore our national parks. At Cumberland Gap, the proposed budget would help put rangers back to work, repair park structures and address long overdue maintenance needs at the park.

My family frequently visits our national parks and the reduction in park budgets is evident. Summer programs are often scaled back or cancelled — disappointing those who travel from miles away to experience the parks.

I urge Congressman Hal Rogers — chairman of the House Appropriations Committee — to support the president’s budget proposal to ensure that all of our national parks are better funded and ready for the upcoming centennial celebration. Now is the time for Congress to reinvest in park rangers, American jobs, and gateway economies. We urge Congress to support restoring our national parks to leave a lasting legacy for their next century of service and beyond.

Harold Jerrell

Rose Hill, Va.