|President’s Budget Requests $2.6 billion for National Park Service
Proposal reflects strategic investments in America’s Great Outdoors
WASHINGTON – The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests $2.6 billion to support the critical conservation, preservation, and recreation mission of the National Park Service, the steward of the Nation’s most cherished natural and cultural resources. The budget provides a net programmatic increase of $26.1 million over 2012 to fund essential programs and emerging operational needs, plus $30.5 million in fixed cost increases.
National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “In addition to operating the national park system, the President’s budget supports our efforts to preserve natural resources and catch the imagination of today’s youth, who are the national park stewards of tomorrow.”
America’s national parks received nearly 287 million visitors in Fiscal Year 2012. As the keeper of 401 national parks, 23 national scenic and national historic trails, and 58 wild and scenic rivers, the National Park Service is charged with preserving these lands and historic features designated by the Nation for their cultural and historic significance, scenic and environmental worth, and educational and recreational opportunities. Additionally, National Park Service grant and technical assistance programs help revitalize communities and expand local recreation opportunities across the country.
This budget includes a total of $2.5 billion for National Park Service programs that support the President's America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative, including $2.3 billion for national park operations; a total increase of $48.4 million over 2012. Key increases include $5.2 million to control exotic and invasive species such as quagga and zebra mussels, $2.0 million to enhance sustainable and accessible infrastructure across the national park system, and $1.0 million to foster the engagement of youth in the great outdoors. These increases are partially offset by programmatic decreases to park operations and related programs totaling $20.6 million.
Programs funded out of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF,) a centerpiece of the AGO initiative, are requested at $110.4 million. This total includes $60.4 million for NPS Federal land acquisition, a programmatic increase of $3.4 million over 2012. In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the budget request for Federal land acquisition includes $9.0 million to continue battlefield protection land acquisition grants. These grants require a dollar-for-dollar match with non-Federal funds and are intended to help State and local governments and nonprofit organization partnerships purchase and protect threatened Civil War and other battlefields.
The budget also requests $5.5 million to acquire Civil War battlefield lands within national parks. The budget proposes $40.0 million for the State Conservation Grants program, a $5.2 million program decrease compared to 2012. This program provides matching grants to States and through States to local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. Also proposed for funding via the LWCF, the budget proposes to reestablish the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) program at $10.0 million. The UPARR program will provide direct Federal assistance to eligible urban localities for rehabilitation of critically needed recreation facilities, as well as encourage systematic local planning and commitment to continuing operation and maintenance of recreation programs, sites, and facilities. Of this request, $9.5 million will be for competitive grants.
In addition to the discretionary request, the Administration will submit a legislative proposal to permanently authorize annual funding, without further appropriation or fiscal year limitation, for the LWCF. Permanent funding will increase financial certainty necessary to build local and community partnerships in conservation and optimize valuable investments by leveraging other Federal and non-Federal funds. This proposal would provide an additional $55.2 million to NPS LWCF programs; including $30.2 million for Federal land acquisition, $20.0 million for State Conservation grants, and $5.0 million for UPARR grants.
As part of the AGO initiative, the request for the Historic Preservation Fund is $58.9 million, a programmatic increase of $3.0 million compared to 2012 enacted. Grants-in-Aid to States and Tribes are continued at the 2012 level. The budget also includes a new, $3.0 million competitive grant program for communities currently underrepresented on the National Register of Historic Places. Other elements of the AGO initiative include funding the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program at $10.1 million, level with 2012, and funding for American Battlefield Protection Program assistance grants and administration, level with 2012 at $1.4 million.
In addition to programs directly tied to the AGO initiative, the budget requests $52.0 million for the National Recreation and Preservation account, which supports local community efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources. This represents a programmatic decrease of $8.4 million, compared to 2012, for National Heritage Areas. The budget also proposes $160.0 million for the Construction account, a total increase of $4.6 million above 2012. This includes $83.1 million for line-item construction projects, a $5.3 million increase from 2012. It provides funding for the highest priority construction projects critical to visitor and employee health and safety and environmental restoration.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.