Nightly News   |  May 27, 2013

National parks show signs of wear and tear

Park advocates are saying that our nations national parks are underfunded which is leaving many understaffed and in the need of a facelift. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> memorial day signals the kick-off for tourist season in the national park system . but from the shenandoah in the east to hawaii, visitors may discover the nation's parks are showing signs of wear and tear and are in real need of money and tlc. here's nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: from death valley to glacier, yellowstone to the everglades, few places hold the nation's imagination and awe like its national parks .

>> especially getting young kids to come.

>> yes.

>> and make sure they know how important it is.

>> reporter: lying between maine and hawaii, 401 parks and monuments, battlefields, volcanos, protected coasts make up the national park system . this year, they will host some visitors but for year it is parks have been underfunded. now some are in trouble. dan kimball runs everglades national park .

>> i'm concerned about restoring this place. that's our number one mission.

>> reporter: the parks service budget has been -- nows has lost another $153 million in the sequester. the backlog of work that needs to be done to maintain the parks now totals $11 billion. 900 park jobses have been unfilled including rangers. another 1,000 seasonal jobs have been cut. park police officers furloughed three days each until june 1. some park entrances go unmanned and facilities that need work haven 't been touched in years. mark winsler is with the park conversation association. when americans bring families to the parks what will they find?

>> they may find a crumbling road, a visitor center that need as facelift. they may not find a ranger.

>> reporter: we need rangers.

>> we need rangers.

>> reporter: in three years the parks service will celebrate its 100th birthday . john jarvis believes they should take note.

>> doesn't matter if you are a democrat or a republican. the american public love the national parks . the american public expect the national parks to be taken care of.

>> reporter: they are the envy of the world. an american treasure showing a little tarnish. tom costello, nbc news, yellowstone, national park .