Will National Parks be a part of Bush's legacy?
And luckily for hikers and families who love to explore, Bush has decided that legacy includes our national parks.
In some of the first events since he announced his FY 08 budget, Bush was out promoting his Centennial Challenge Initiative, which could potentially provide up to $3 billion in new funds to the park service in the next 10 years. Bush seems quite proud of this highlight in his budget, and he should be. For a video of George and Laura Bush's comments on the future of our national parks, click here. (Windows Media Player required.) Text can be found here.
This boost in funding comes at a critical time. Storms have battered and closed Mount Rainier National Park. Visitation numbers at national parks are down in the past 10 years.We need to revitalize our parks and get kids and citizens out there hiking, paddling, horseback riding, fishing and connecting with the outdoors. By 2016, the 100th anniversary of the park service, we can do that. This initiative is a great start.
Certainly, I have concerns about the president's budget, most notably, an 11 percent cut to recreation and trails programs within the U.S. Forest Service. Our national forests also provide some of the exact hiking and recreation opportunities Laura Bush talked about yesterday:
Photo of Laura and George W. Bush courtesy www.whitehouse.gov.