As an Asheville native and an environmental science major at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have always loved state parks. In fact, my choice to major in environmental science branched from the experiences I had in state parks while growing up. From mountain biking in Bent Creek, to visiting Purchase Knob to participate in ozone research, to backpacking in Linville Gorge, I have come to learn that these precious places give our community and families more than we could ever hope to give back.
Every year [that] the Land and Water Conservation fund is renewed, a certain amount of money is used to fund the State Parks of North Carolina. In this year’s budget, Congress has proposed to direct 93 percent of those funds to other causes, leaving the State Parks with only 7 percent of its intended funds. Without that 93 percent, we cannot effectively protect our world-renowned, precious ecosystems from overdevelopment, pollution, and contamination. Without that 93 percent, families from around the country will be unable to experience the diversity and beauty that our mountains have to offer.
I’m urging everyone to call for full funding for our State Parks by contacting your local congressman. Only then can we give back our 100 percent.
— Susie Proctor