Reauthorization of FLREA allows national parks to continue to retain fees they collect to enhance recreation benefits for visitors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition commends Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) for introducing important legislation that would allow national parks and other federal lands to continue to retain the fees they collect in order to enhance recreational opportunities for visitors. The collected fees are used to rebuild, maintain, and improve facilities; provide educational programs; and enhance recreation amenities at national parks. Without reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), the fees currently collected would be directed to the US Treasury rather than be retained by national parks and other federal lands to provide recreation benefits for visitors. Without FLREA, the National Park Service would lose nearly $180 million a year.
“Congressman Bishop’s legislation helps preserve a vital part of the funding stream for our national parks and other federal lands however, the coalition will continue to work with Congress to make adjustments to the bill as it moves through the legislative process.” stated Craig Obey, senior vice president for the National Parks Conservation Association and chair of the coalition. “Without reauthorization, the National Park Service would lose an amount equivalent to the recent budget sequester, further depleting already strained park budgets and reducing visitor opportunities as the National Park System nears its centennial in 2016.”
In a typical year, national parks attract more than 28o million visitors annually, generating approximately $27 billion in economic activity every year. “A recent Park Service visitor spending report confirms that national parks provide jobs and generate business for local communities throughout the country,” said Catherine Prather, interim president of the National Tour Association, adding that 69 percent of the association’s 700 tour companies package travel to US national parks. “If parks lose the revenue generated through this legislation, it will negatively impact visitation and local communities.”
“Approximately 140 million Americans recreate outside each year and they rely on guides and outfitters, maintained trails, upgraded campgrounds and easy accessibility to our public lands for positive outdoor experiences,” said Kirk Bailey, vice president of government affairs at the Outdoor Industry Association and member of the coalition. “The reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act is critical to providing these experiences and we thank the Committee and Congressman Bishop for recognizing its importance.”
The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition is a national alliance dedicated to promoting the protection, restoration and operation of the National Park System to benefit the health and well-being of current and future generations. Members of the coalition include outdoor recreation, conservation, travel and tourism, historic preservation, and economic development organizations.
About 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 one million members and 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.