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Deep Cuts Cause Deep Concerns

Proposed Cuts in Staff Create Concern

 If Congress enacts the deep cuts in the National Park Service design staff--including Landscape Architects--at stake is how more than $600 million in maintenance, construction, planning and preservation projects--such as the Grand Canyon--will be operated in the future. Photo by Woodbridge Williams provided courtesy of the NPS.


Due to media criticism about construction projects that have gone over budget, Congressman Ralph Regale (R-OH) proposes to cut the professional design staff at Denver Service Center (DSC) by 50 percent and contracting out 90 percent of the design and construction management currently performed by DSC employees. (Provisions are in the H.R. 4193, "The Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 1999.") This action results in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) holding a deep concern that the interest of the public will suffer if Congress enacts deep cuts in the National Park Service (NPS) as recommended by Regula, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies.

H.R. 4193 would delegate the responsibility for design supervision to the superintendents of the national parks. According to the ASLA, these individuals lack the education and experience in design or construction management needed to produce quality projects and protect natural resources and national parks.

As a result, ASLA President Thomas Dunbar, FASLA, sent letters to the chairs of the appropriations and authorizations committees in the House and Senate and expressed ASLA's concern that some of the Committee's recommendations will be harmful to the quality of our national park system. He urged the legislators to retain the role of Landscape Architects in design services and construction management. Dunbar explained in his letter, "The Denver Service Center has been a leader in conservation design and environmental planning. Landscape Architects have a dedication to the mission and values of the national park system that is unparalleled. He continued, "To significantly reduce their valuable role in managing and protecting our nations' natural and cultural resources would be a disservice to them and to the NPS." hello

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November 22, 2019, 1:32 pm PDT

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