Press Release Apr 10, 2024

Parks Group Champions Legislation to Protect American History and Culture

This bill would help equip the Park Service to continue to serve as some of America’s greatest storytellers, and protect our American legacy for generations to come.

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Parks Conservation Association celebrates the Cultural Resources Challenge Act (HR 7936), new legislation introduced by Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY-20th) that would provide $250 million in funding for historic and cultural resources at America’s national parks.

“History is at the heart of our national parks, which protect pivotal stories of the Revolutionary War, the Civil Rights Movement, and countless other chapters of the ever-unfolding American narrative. National Park Service rangers work tirelessly to teach park visitors about our country’s diverse, complex cultural resources.” said Alan Spears, Senior Director of Cultural Resources for the National Parks Conservation Association.

“But chronic underfunding means fewer talented National Park Service historians and other expert staff are left to tell those stories at parks every year. Funding shortfalls have left our history vulnerable to climate change-related disaster, with flood and fire threatening historic buildings, battlefields, and more.” Spears added.

“The National Parks Conservation Association proudly supports Congressman Tonko’s Cultural Resources Challenge Act, which would breathe new life into cultural resources management and preservation in our national parks. New funding would help the Park Service recruit more of the best and brightest cultural resources staff, as well as safeguard American history from climate change. This bill would help equip the Park Service to continue to serve as some of America’s greatest storytellers, and protect our American legacy for generations to come.” Spears concluded.

This new legislation accompanies NPCA’s latest report, “A Cultural Resource Challenge for the National Park Service,” released just days ago. The report outlines startling findings about the National Park Service’s inability to properly fund and staff national parks dedicated primarily or partially to cultural resources. Data reveals a severe lack of historians, archivists, and other key staff the agency needs to fulfill its mandate under the Organic Act. Out of the more than 20,000 staff at America’s national parks, only 138 are full-time historians.

The report also details the threat that climate change poses to historic resources at America’s national parks, particularly if staff do not have the budget to plan accordingly for extreme weather.

These findings cast serious doubts about whether the National Park Service has sufficient funds to play a leading role in celebrating America’s 250th birthday in 2026, an occasion that will no doubt require significant staff and resources.

To view the Cultural Resources Challenge report, please click here. For more information, please visit


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) 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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