Kudos to the National Park Service for seeming to make the best out of sequestration-related budget cuts (per your article “Sequestration: National parks in Cobb looking down barrel of fed deficit cuts”). Places like the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area represent our commitment to protect the best of Georgia for future generations. This wilderness amidst the sprawl of Atlanta receives roughly the same amount of visitors as Yellowstone National Park every year.
Unfortunately, these cuts come on the heels of decades of cuts to our country’s most important conservation fund — The Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Fifty years ago, Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund (using money from off-shore oil leases, not taxpayers) to keep encroaching threats away from our parks. The program has a proud history and played an important role in making the existing string of parks along the Chattahoochee River what they are today.
What makes this success more remarkable is that, nearly every year for 50 years, Congress has raided the Fund’s resources, diverting them for non-conservation purposes and exposing parks, forests, and rivers we love to danger.
Along the Chattahoochee a little under half of the land meant to make up the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is vulnerable to threats from development. U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia have an opportunity to do right by our parks and help to expand and protect this amazing wilderness in our midst. I urge them to push for full funding and 10,000 protected acres along the Chattahoochee.