Press Release Jul 23, 2015

Congress Must Consider Innovative Ideas for Funding National Parks

Testimony of Craig Obey, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association

WASHINGTON – As the National Park System prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday, Congress needs to consider new and innovative approaches to funding our parks, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) told members of the House Natural Resources Committee today.

Testifying before the Federal Land Subcommittee, NPCA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Craig Obey said that years of underfunding have led to significant annual funding shortfalls to operate the National Park System and to the $11.5 billion deferred maintenance backlog, in addition to a backlog of needed land acquisition projects.

Testimony

New and Innovative Ideas for the Next Century of Our National Parks

Statement of Craig Obey, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs National Parks Conservation Association Before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Federal Land Subcommittee On New and Innovative Ideas for…

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“As the Centennial of the National Park Service and System approaches in 2016, we hope Congress will work in a bipartisan fashion to support ‘America’s best idea,’” Obey said in his prepared testimony. “Now is the time to reinvest in our national parks, through both traditional and creative new approaches.”

Obey discussed options that have the potential to provide significant additional resources for our national parks, including those that leverage expenditures of federal dollars in order to maximize the potential for partnerships with non-federal sources of funds. An example includes authorizing the Centennial Challenge, a proposal to match private and public dollars for funding specific projects within parks.

Other options Congress should explore, according to Obey, include increasing the investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure through the reauthorization of MAP-21, establishing a national parks endowment, creating a backlog fund to address critical maintenance projects, and reauthorizing and improving entrance and creational fee authorities.

Obey noted that a century of investment in our national parks have not only protected them, but made them economic assets and job products for local communities, many of them in rural locations, and for our national recreation and tourism economies.

“These places are educational assets, provide extensive opportunities for outdoor recreation, contribute to public health, and support basic community infrastructure,” said Obey. “Our national parks are investments worth preserving.”

Click here to read Mr. Obey’s full testimony.

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About the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.