Press Release Mar 11, 2024

As Threats to National Parks Increase, President Biden Calls for More Funding and Staffing

“It’s critical for Congress to follow the President’s lead and support a reinvestment in America’s national parks. We must reverse course now, and fast, before our parks are pushed into an even deeper financial hole." - Theresa Pierno, NPCA's President and CEO 

Washington, DC – Today, President Biden released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2025, which calls on Congress to provide an increase of $198 million (6.8% increase over FY24 enacted) to the National Park Service (NPS). This increase would help bring back hundreds of staff to parks across the country, as well as improve and modernize visitor experiences, reduce the impacts of climate change and help preserve stories that tell the full American story. The Biden administration’s proposed increases are in stark contrast to the funding cuts Congress just enacted in their fiscal year 2024 spending bill, which included cuts to national park funding, staffing and maintenance needs.

For decades, the National Parks Conservation Association and our members and supporters have fought for more funding for national parks and their staff to ensure they have the resources they need to protect our most treasured landscapes and irreplaceable cultural and historic places. We know supporting parks is a win-win for their future, visitors and local economies that depend on them. And now President Biden’s proposed investments sends a clear message to Congress that more funding is crucial for national parks and their staff.

As parks begin preparing for another busy season while simultaneously planning for the potential of severe weather events, more staff and resources are critical. Last year, national parks reported a total of 325.5 million recreation visits, an increase of 13 million (4%) over 2022, with twenty parks breaking visitation records. But increased visitation brings numerous challenges for our parks, already struggling to make ends meet. Between 2012 and 2022, national parks staffing eroded by 13% while visitation grew by 10%. Higher costs of living and other uncontrollable cost increases needed for critical repairs are also forcing park superintendents to make hard decisions regarding how many staff they can employ and what educational programs they can sustain.

Moreover, climate change impacts are accelerating at parks right before our eyes, including historic flooding at Death Valley National Park and wildfires in and around Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in Texas. Our national parks are at the forefront of the climate crisis, and they also offer one of our country’s best defenses for addressing these threats. President Biden’s proposed budget acknowledges the need and opportunity to do more to combat these effects. In addition to the investments for national parks to combat the effects of the climate crisis, the administration’s budget also calls for an increase of $11 billion (20% increase over FY24 enacted) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing laws like the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act so we can breathe healthy air and swim in clean water. This investment would advance the EPA’s efforts to address climate change, invest in clean air and water, advance environmental justice and build back agency capacity and staffing.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):

“It’s uplifting to see a funding proposal that prioritizes our parks and solidifies protection for these places. These investments are what NPCA and our members and supporters have and will continue to fight for until our parks get what they need and deserve.

“President Biden’s budget proposal confirms that our national parks are critical to our country’s success and the values we hold. By investing in the future of these places, we also invest in the future of our country because the impact goes far beyond park boundaries, improving our environment and helping local communities thrive.

“It’s no surprise that visitors continue to flock to national parks. They are magical places that everyone should have the opportunity to experience, no matter where they live. But because of federal funding shortfalls, our parks are struggling to do so much more with fewer staff and resources. The current situation is not sustainable for our parks. They need more, not less.

“National parks are facing challenges from all angles, dealing with costly damage from increasingly severe and frequent weather events, amplified by climate change. In the past few months alone, we saw flooding close Death Valley and raging wildfires devastate Texas communities and close Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument. This situation will only get worse if we don’t provide parks with the resources they need to make them stronger.

“It’s critical for Congress to follow the President’s lead and support a reinvestment in America’s national parks. We must reverse course now, and fast, before our parks are pushed into an even deeper financial hole. We urge lawmakers from across the aisle to work together to advance a new vision for our parks that regards them as the irreplaceable places they are. The future of our national parks is dependent on action now.”


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit

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