PHOTOS: What Happens When You Axe National Park Budgets

Photographer Chris Mabey travels park-to-park capturing changes, needs help

A couple weeks back I posted on The Adventure Blog about the impact of budget cuts, as a result of sequestration, on America's national parks. At the time, we had just a few hints at how those cuts migh affect visitors to the parks in the months ahead, but there's still a lot of speculation about just how deep that impact will be over the long haul.

Now, Utah-based photographer Chris Mabey is looking to explore that question in more depth and he's launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his project. Chris plans to visit 10 parks in the months ahead to capture photos that demonstrate how the budget cuts are altering not only the landscapes of the parks but also the experience for those who visit them. He's looking to raise just $3,500 to get his project off the ground and, as of this writing, he's already about a third of the way to his goal with 21 days to go.

The parks are not just amazing destinations that allow us to connect with nature, they're also a boon for economic stimulus. As Chris points out, the parks actually generate about $10 in economic activity in the surrounding area for every $1 that's invested in them. That's the kind of ROI that Wall Street bankers drool over. And that doesn't even take into account the park's importance as part of our cultural, historical and natural heritages (which you can't really put a dollar value to).

It's a shame to see them underfunded, particularly when they occupy such a small amount of the overall budget and are so popular with visitors. Let's hope something is done soon to change that. Perhaps Chris' project will be a step toward action.

This story first appeared on The Adventure Blog.