Congress to Increase Funding for America's National Parks

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   November 29, 2004
Contact:   Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332


Congress to Increase Funding for America's National Parks

Washington, D.C. - Responding to public concern about deteriorated facilities, reduced educational opportunities, and threatened wildlife and historic resources in America’s national parks, Congress tomorrow is expected to approve nearly a $100-million operating increase for national parks in the Department of Interior fiscal year 2005 spending bill.

“This week, we are an important step closer to restoring the luster to America’s crown jewels—the national parks,” said Tom Kiernan, president of the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). “Congressional appropriators on both sides of the aisle deserve enormous credit. The leadership of Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), working in concert with Chairman Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), Chairman Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), resulted in a bipartisan effort to protect America’s shared heritage. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress in the coming years to fully meet the parks’ critical funding needs and fulfill the president’s national park legacy.”

The fiscal year 2005 Interior Appropriations bill contains an overall increase of $95 million for the National Park Service’s operating budget with significant, $75-million increase earmarked specifically for individual park budgets. In particular, the bill states that all 388 national park sites will receive, at a minimum, an increase of 5 percent for base operations. This brings the total National Park Service operating budget for fiscal year 2005 to $1.7 billion from $1.6 billion last year.

“This welcome investment in our parks is an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the problem. Congress clearly recognizes the importance of addressing the national parks’ $600-million annual operating shortfall,” Kiernan added.

The increased funding could help national parks such as Acadia, Olympic, and Yosemite avoid further cuts to educational programs and visitor services, and enable parks such as Glacier, Great Smoky Mountains, Gettysburg, Dry Tortugas, and Death Valley to address threats to historic sites, wildlife, and cultural artifacts.

In May 20 senators and 84 representatives sent letters to the appropriators seeking increased funds to address the national parks’ crippling operating shortfall, now in excess $600 million annually. This summer, visitors to Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks sent 9,000 comments to their members of Congress, voicing concern for the critical funding needs of the national parks.

The fiscal year 2005 Interior Appropriations bill, which is coupled with several outstanding spending bills in an omnibus, is expected to go to the House and Senate floors for a vote this weekend. Congress may include an across-the-board cut in the overall omnibus bill, which would impact the Park Service’s budget.

# # #

Close

Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:

GO

Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account:

GO