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Environmentalists seek more funding for national parks

Employees at Acadia National Park in Maine got back to work in mid-October, after the federal government shutdown closed the park for about two weeks.
Employees at Acadia National Park in Maine got back to work in mid-October, after the federal government shutdown closed the park for about two weeks.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

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New England political leaders and environmental groups are lobbying for increased funding for the region’s national parks after the one-two punch of automatic budget cuts and last fall’s government shutdown hurt park operations, and the local economies that rely on them.

With another battle over federal spending looming as Congress gets back to work, the advocacy group Environment Massachusetts released a report Thursday outlining the impact of the automatic cuts, known as sequestration. Those cuts resulted in fewer programs and seasonal employees, the report said, and continued declines in funding could reduce tourism, which generated $432 million in economic activity for Massachusetts in 2011.

Funding for national parks has been slashed by at least 13 percent in the past two years, according to the study.

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