Legislation invests in, ensures future vitality of our National Parks
Washington, D.C. – In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS), to be celebrated in 2016, Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, today introduced legislation to provide a much-needed funding boost for National Parks.
“This centennial is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to passing on our National Parks to future generations in even better shape than we found them,” said Grijalva. “The initiatives funded though this legislation, especially those which will use our Parks as classrooms for young people, will create new generations of stewards to safeguard our National Parks for the next 100 years.”
“Our National Parks tell the story of America, but over the past six years, the Bush Administration’s budget priorities have been an ongoing tale of severe under funding for our Parks,” Rahall said. “This bill will provide the funding increase our Parks deserve, and will equip the National Park Service with a host of new tools to inspire young people, encourage diversity and professional development, respond to climate change, and lead conservation efforts by example.”
This past February, the Bush Administration proposed legislation to increase NPS funding over the next 10 years, but the proposal lacked specifics and failed to identify a source for the increased spending. The Grijalva-Rahall bill, H.R. 3094, improves upon this proposal, providing the National Park System with $100 million per year in mandatory spending, paid for through fees on commercial activities on federal land.
Also in contrast to the Administration’s proposal, the legislation encourages private donations but provides this new spending without requiring private matching funds. H.R. 3094 also goes beyond the Administration’s legislation by specifically identifying six program areas designed to prepare the National Park System for the next 100 years. These program areas and funding breakdown are:
- Education in the Parks (30 percent)
- Diversity in Parks (10 percent)
- NPS Professional Development (10 percent)
- Environmental Leadership (10 percent)
- Natural Resource Protection (10 percent)
- Capital Improvement (30 percent)
Since its founding in 1916, the NPS has grown to include 22,000 employees, conserving and interpreting 391 units in a National Park System that will welcome more than 270 million visitors this year alone.