A historic park funding bill will dedicate $6.5 billion over five years to priority projects in the National Park Service’s nearly $12 billion backlog of needed repair work.

On July 22, 2020, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act, legislation that will dedicate $1.3 billion per year for five years to deferred maintenance projects in the National Park Service’s nearly $12 billion backlog of needed repair work. President Trump signed the bill into law on August 4, 2020.

NPCA and thousands of advocates worked for 20 years to secure this support, leading the way to this landmark victory.

Background

The National Park System is second only to the Department of Defense in the amount of infrastructure it manages, and maintaining and repairing that infrastructure requires resources — staff and materials that the National Park Service needs from Congress.

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Our Parks Badly Need Repairs

Our national parks, from the Grand Canyon to Gettysburg, need billions of dollars in repairs. Congress and the president must work together to fix our parks and help the local…

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Due to the long-term underinvestment in parks by Congress, the infrastructure repair backlog comprised of park roads, bridges, trails, historic structures, campgrounds and other facilities has grown to more than $11 billion. Over half of the projects on the infrastructure repair backlog list are park road projects, such as the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park.

National park infrastructure repairs and maintenance needs are funded through multiple funding sources including the operation and construction budgets determined annually by Congress through the appropriations process and guaranteed funding from the Highway Trust Fund through transportation bills. However, these funding streams have been insufficient.

Examples of national park infrastructure needs:

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio): Paved roads and bridges comprise about $2 million of the parks deferred maintenance such as the road and bridge at Brandywine Falls.

  • Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado): Over $6 million is needed to rehabilitate historic buildings in the Chapin Mesa National Historic Landmark District at Mesa Verde National Park.

  • Yosemite National Park (California): Yosemite National Park is home to some of our country’s most breathtaking cliffs, domes and waterfalls. However, the park suffers from $582 million in needed repairs. For example, more than $20 million is needed to rehabilitate trails including the Yosemite Bike Path, the Stubblefield Canyon Trail and the Clark Point Spur, a path that leads to the famous Vernal Falls.

Park fees, philanthropic donations, volunteer assistance and other sources help supplement federal funding, but ultimately the bulk of the funding needs must be met by Congress.

By passing the Great American Outdoors Act, Congress will not only provide funding to repair aging infrastructure on our public lands, it will put more Americans to work in the National Park System and help sustain local communities across the country that are dependent on park and recreation tourism.

Hundreds Meet with Congress

Park advocates came to Washington DC to ask Senators and Congressmembers to support the Restore Our Parks Act. Hundreds more made calls and thousands wrote letters as part of NPCA's annual Capitol Hill Day.

Effort-to-date

  • More than 10,000 Wrote Their Senators

    May 2017

    Park advocates across the country urged their senators to cosponsor S. 751, the National Park Service Legacy Act.

  • 2,500 Urged Their Members of Congress to Cosponsor Legacy Act

    Nov 2017

    Park advocates nationwide urged their lawmakers to cosponsor the bipartisan, bicameral National Park Service Legacy Act.

  • Nearly 9,000 Urged Congress to Support the National Park Service Legacy Act

    Feb 2018

    National park advocates nationwide contacted Congress and asked it to support and pass the National Park Service Legacy Act that would provide dedicated funding to address the parks' $11.3 billion repair backlog.

  • More than 8,600 Told Congress to Support the Legacy Act

    Apr 2018

    National park advocates wrote their members of Congress and urged them to support the National Park Service Legacy Act to address the parks' $11.6 billion repair backlog.

  • More than 13,000 Letters Sent Urging Congress to Fix Parks

    Dec 2018

    Park advocates took action to address the more than $11 billion maintenance backlog by telling Congress to support and pass the Restore Our National Parks (and Public Lands) Act.

  • More than 55,000 letters sent

    Jul 2020

    Supporters wrote to Congress telling them to fix America's parks & protect public lands by supporting the Great American Outdoors Act!

  • More than 300 phone calls

    Jul 2020

    Supporters urged Congress to fix America's parks by supporting the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act!

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