Here you’ll find links to, or information about, current topics in the national parks and National Park Service (NPS). You can also explore more sources of news and learn how to subscribe to news releases.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Great American Outdoors Act
The Great American Outdoors Act, signed into law in August 2020, will expand recreational opportunities and address long overdue infrastructure and modernization challenges in the National Park System and other federal lands.
The legislation will provide funding for priority projects that address the maintenance backlog on NPS and other federal lands. The maintenance backlog and investment needs will be addressed for various facilities including campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails, and other critical infrastructure. It will ensure crucial investments are made in our nation’s most meaningful landscapes to enable their preservation, accessibility, and enjoyment for current and future generations. Specific projects to be funded will be announced in the future.
Free Access for Veterans and Gold Star FamiliesUnder a new program, Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans receive free access to more than 2,000 national parks and other federal recreation areas.
Economic Effects of Visitor Spending
National parks are reopening to visitors who know them as places of respite, recreation, culture, and learning. Those visitors also have a positive effect on the economies of park gateway communities and the US economy. Read the news release about the annual economic benefit of national parks to the US and local economies and view the interactive report.
Public Lands Bill
In March 2019, President Trump signed into law the the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, one of the largest public lands bills in recent history. The Dingell Act affecting public lands nationally, including the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Every Kid Outdoors Program, improvements to public land access, and more. Learn more about how the NPS is implementing the Dingell Act.
Infrastructure and the Maintenance Backlog
Maintaining the roads and bridges, visitor centers, historic buildings, trails, and campgrounds that make parks such incredible places to visit is an enormous task. Over the years, aging facilities, growing visitation, and limited resources have made that task even harder, resulting in a backlog of maintenance work.
The NPS estimates that during Fiscal Year 2018, more than $671 million in needed repair work was completed at national parks across the country, one of the largest amounts of deferred maintenance needs retired in a single year.
The proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes a legislative proposal that would provide funding to help address the $11.9 billion maintenance backlog in the National Park System.
Learn more about the maintenance backlog across the National Park System, including the current status and how we identify and report deferred maintenance.
E-Bikes in National Parks
The NPS has finalized regulations governing the use of electric bicycles (e-bikes) within the National Park System. Learn more about the use of e-bikes in national parks.
More than 327 million people visited the national parks in 2019, up 9 million visits from 2018. The official count was 327,516,619 recreation visits. Learn more about visitation in 2019, including park milestones and the top 10 most-visited parks.
Planning for a Safe Visit
We encourage visitors to plan ahead and keep safety in mind when traveling to national parks. The NPS Trip Planning Guide and Checklist provide key safety considerations to help visitors avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when visiting national parks. Visitors can prepare for different types of activities and learn how to avoid common wildlife and outdoor hazards in parks.
Federal Register Notices
The Federal Register is the official “newspaper” of the federal government. It contains presidential documents and rules and regulations, proposed rules, and notices for executive agencies, such as the Department of the Interior, and their bureaus. Visit the National Register to view documents on publication, significant documents, and recently published documents for the National Park Service.
Last updated: December 8, 2020