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Economic Stimulus Plan – Hiring Sign Could Be Posted in the NE

January 19, 2009

Concord, NH – The "hiring sign" could soon be posted outside of national parks and other public lands in the Northeast. The House Democratic version of the next economic stimulus plan includes about $2 billion to make repairs in national parks, and millions for projects on other public lands.

Derek Brockbank, National Wildlife Federation Conservation programs manager, says making a dent on the maintenance backlogs is important to boost the economy, and important against the backdrop of climate change.

"We want to create jobs while making a down payment on safeguarding the jobs that are based on natural resources in this new era of global warming."

Brockbank calls public lands prime wildlife habitat, and notes that the Northeast sees more than one billion dollars a year as hunters, fishermen and those who watch wildlife spend money at hotels, restaurants, and buy equipment and fuel. He says that money adds up across the country – and helps makes the case that investing in public lands will bring long-term returns.

"U.S. recreation involving wildlife and public lands contributes over 730 billion dollars to our economy every year – more than the recovery package or any of the bailout packages."

Critics of the economic proposal say it costs too much, which means a larger federal deficit and possible tax increases down the road.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - MA