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STATEMENT: President Trump plans to slash the budget for America’s national parks and public lands


MARCH 16, 2017

DENVER—The Trump administration released its “skinny budget” today, calling for a 12% cut to the Department of the Interior.

The massive proposed cuts by President Trump are in stark contrast to statements made last week by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in his first remarks to Interior Department staff. Secretary Zinke said, “I’m going to fight for the budget. I looked at the budget. I’m not happy, but we’re going to fight about it and I think I’m going to win at the end of the day.”

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Deputy Director Greg Zimmerman:

“President Trump’s budget cuts funding for America’s parks, public lands, wildlife, and water resources at the expense of communities across the West. With the Interior Department already under strain, this budget appears intended to break the agency. Secretary Zinke gets it. But if today’s announcement is any indication, the new Interior Secretary lost the budget battle with the White House. It’s a big loss for America’s parks and for the public.”

Trump’s budget proposal singles out critical land acquisition and protection programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for $120 million dollars in cuts. This evisceration of LWCF—an already underfunded program—would pave the way for trophy homes in our national parks and make it almost impossible for willing land owners to work with the National Park Service and other agencies to protect their land for future generations.

The Department of Interior is charged with managing more than 500 million acres of American parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands. Cutting Interior’s budget would mean less money for trails and recreation access, less money for land management, and less money for parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges.

The proposed budget defunds much-needed major maintenance and new construction in a park system already bursting at the seams from record-breaking attendance during its 2016 centennial. These cuts show President Trump is only paying lip service to addressing the $12.5 billion maintenance backlog facing our parks.

Secretary Zinke has committed to increasing employee morale and providing land managers on the front lines with the resources and tools to carry out their mission. These sweeping cuts will help with neither.

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