They Broke It, We Own It

Gulf Oil Spill Threatening National Parks

By Sharon Donnell
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM EDT
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They Broke It, We Own It

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Thousands of acres of bayous, swamps, alligators and birds. Seventy miles of undeveloped, pristine sandy beaches. Seven islands composed of coral reefs and sand. You are part owner of these national treasures, and they are all in danger from the Gulf oil spill.

There are at least eight national parks in the projected path of the spill and there is a new effort to help them. The National Park Foundation, official charity of America’s national parks, today launched the National Parks Disaster Recovery Fund.  The public outreach and fundraising campaign will support the National Park Service's response to the Gulf oil spill, and will also serve to create lasting capacity to help national parks recover from future natural and man-made disasters, officials said.
 
Donors may be concerned they’re cleaning up the area so the corporations who created the mess won’t have to, but Interior officials said that is not the case.
 
“While donated funds will be available to affected parks for immediate needs throughout the disaster as well as long-term monitoring of the health of the damaged ecosystems, donated funds will not reduce the financial obligation of those responsible for the spill,” said Tom Strickland, assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks of the U.S. Department of the Interior. 
 
“This is a defining moment in the history of our national parks. The public is eager to support their national parks and the National Parks Disaster Recovery Fund is an important way to take action,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation.  “With an increasing number of natural disasters like flooding, fires and hurricanes, combined with man-made catastrophes like the Gulf oil spill, it is time that we move strategically to make sure that our national parks have the resources they need to recover.”
 
Parks in the projected path of the Gulf oil spill include:
To learn more about ways you can help visit NationalParks.org or HelpParks.org.

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