‘Parks in Wreck’ Campaign to Help Conserve Canyonlands National Park Exceeded Crowdfunding Goal
DENVER – Oil and natural gas employees and others stepped up during the 30-day Parks in Wreck challenge and successfully raised $6,030 to help fund repairs to trails, campgrounds and facilities at Canyonlands National Park outside Moab, Utah. The crowdfunding campaign organized by Western Energy Alliance on Independence Institute’s Freedomfy platform reached 121% of its goal. Funds go directly to the non-profit Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, the nonprofit organization that conducts on-the-ground conservation at Canyonlands.
In addition to raising money for Canyonlands, the campaign raised awareness of a more permanent solution to the $12 billion outstanding backlog of maintenance projects across all national parks. The Restore Our Parks bills (S. 500 and H.R. 1225) would direct $1.3 billion in annual revenues from energy produced on nonpark, non-wilderness public lands to reduce that backlog.
“Roads, trails, visitor centers and other infrastructure that enable visitors to enjoy national parks are chronically underfunded. That’s why we wanted to do something different with this campaign to advance the conversation,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “Sites within the park like the iconic Mesa Arch are experiencing significant wear and tear from three quarters of a million visitors a year. We support legislation to direct revenues from oil and natural gas development on nonpark, nonwilderness public lands to national parks to meet this funding shortfall. We’re proud that our industry can provide a long-term solution to the problem.”
According to recently updated data, Canyonlands National Park faced $21 million in outstanding repairs for trails, campgrounds, visitor centers and other projects in 2018.* Yet, the park’s annual budget is only $6.4 million.
“This was a unique campaign and we’re grateful to Western Energy Alliance and the support and attention it received,” said Joette Langianese, executive director at Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks. “This campaign has been a good opportunity to focus on issues that need to be taken care of while also talking about a positive, long-term solution. The national parks of southeastern Utah are facing many challenges from lack of funding due to increased visitation. The Restore Our Parks Act is a significant step toward ensuring that they will continue to provide enjoyment for future generations.”
Momentum in Congress is building with numerous Democrats and Republicans backing the parks bill. In the House, there are 305 cosponsors, and in the Senate there are 40 cosponsors. The bill is also supported by Interior Secretary David Bernhard and Vice President Mike Pence.
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*Our release announcing the campaign reported $40.1 million based on 2017 data. The Pew Charitable Trust has since updated its database on park maintenance to reflect 2018 data.