Mojave Preserve Makes 10 Most Endangered Parks List

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March 26, 2002  

Mojave Preserve Makes 10 Most Endangered Parks List

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Mountain views in some of the country's signature national parks are clouded by air pollution, while historic monuments are crumbling for lack of cash, a park advocacy group says.

The National Parks Conservation Assn. Monday released its annual list of "America's Ten Most Endangered National Parks."

Mojave National Preserve in California is among the newcomers. Among its problems: water drained by nearby development, illegal wildlife poaching and habitat damage from off-road vehicles. The list also includes Yellowstone National Park, which is threatened by air pollution caused by snowmobiles--and Federal Hall National Monument in New York, where George Washington was sworn in as president. The lower Manhattan site was damaged during the attack on the nearby World Trade Center.

"Although our national parks are protected on paper, the dangers they face continue to multiply," said Thomas Kiernan, president of the conservation association. "Our national parks need to be protected and fully funded, and the parks must be freed from the burdens of encroaching development and air and water pollution."

Kiernan said President Bush's plan to increase funding for national parks is good, but more is needed.

Bush has proposed $663 million for new construction and maintenance projects, ranging from erecting new buildings to repairing sewer lines. That proposal for the year beginning Oct. 1 is about $2 million more than Congress appropriated for the current year.

The parks association is lobbying Congress for more money to hire additional park employees, such as archeologists and biologists, and to catch up on a substantial maintenance backlog.

David Barna, a spokesman for the park service, said the agency appreciates the attention the conservation group gives to national parks. But he said the issues parks confront can't be limited to a list of 10.

"We have 385 sites, and it is like we have 385 children out there," Barna said. "Nobody likes to pick out a favorite child."

The National Parks Conservation Assn., founded in 1919, is a private nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to national parks.
 

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