FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SILVER SPRING, MD -- The Public Lands Alliance (PLA) is deeply concerned by the federal government shutdown and its impact on America's public lands, their visitors, and their partners. Below is a statement from Dan Puskar, executive director of PLA:
"America's public lands are now vulnerable due to the inaction of our nation's political leaders. As a new Congress begins, PLA calls on our elected leaders to find common ground quickly and fully reopen our parks, refuges, forests, conservation areas, and monuments through the end of FY 2019.
"Many public lands have remained open without the proper personnel to manage them. This has resulted in closed restrooms, unplowed roads, and limited health and safety information. The news is filled with devastating reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in parks and refuges due to this negligence. And the alternative is little better: public lands closed to taxpayers.
"Several nonprofit partner organizations have stepped up in the early days of this shutdown to provide minimal visitor services when federal land managers cannot. Yet as this shutdown continues to stretch longer, these nonprofit organizations cannot and should not shoulder the responsibilities of the government.
"A prolonged shutdown will have devastating impacts on the financial health of these nonprofit organizations, and by extension, their conservation, education, and youth programs. Though federal employees will rightfully receive back pay for the time they were furloughed, these nonprofit organizations will never be repaid.
"PLA urges all Americans to contact their elected leaders and remind them of their obligation to faithfully steward our public lands for present and future generations."