STATEMENT OF DENIS P. GALVIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, AND RECREATION, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, CONCERNING THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001

February 29, 2000


Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Fiscal Year 2001 budget request of the National Park Service. This request seeks to make the best possible use of funds to manage and preserve our nation’s great natural and cultural heritage, while responding to the growing demand for visitor services at our national parks.

Overview

The National Park Service (NPS) budget request for Fiscal Year 2001 totals $2.310 billion, which is $248 million more than the enacted amount for Fiscal Year 2000. Of the total, $2.042 billion would be provided by appropriations, and the remaining $268 million would be derived from recreation fees, concessions, and other sources. The funding would support operations, maintenance, land acquisition, and construction at our 379 park system units, which are expected to receive over 290 million visitors next year. It would also support other activities conducted by NPS in the areas of historic preservation, conservation, and recreation. The request includes $317.5 million in support of the Administration’s $1.4 billion Lands Legacy Initiative proposal for Fiscal Year 2001.

Closely aligned to the budget request is the NPS Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2001, developed pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). The Annual Performance Plan expresses the goals that NPS expects to achieve during FY 2001. Fulfilling these goals depends on funding received, among other factors.

The goals for 2001 have been refined on the basis of actual performance results from the NPS Annual Performance Report for Fiscal Year 1999, the first such report issued. Submission of our first Annual Performance Report represents a milestone in the Park Service’s increasing understanding and expanding implementation of GPRA, and reflects how much NPS has learned during the past several years about making performance management work as its business system.

Park Operations

Spending on activities, programs, and services essential to the day-to-day operation of national parks, historic sites, national monuments, and other units managed by the National Park Service accounts for about two-thirds of the NPS budget. To fund these park operations in Fiscal Year 2001, the Administration is seeking $1.454 billion, an increase of $90.3 million over Fiscal Year 2000. This increase would address operating needs at 91 park system units and the U.S. Park Police, address critical needs within the natural and cultural resource programs, and enhance visitor services throughout the National Park System.

Represented within the operations increase are two key initiatives. One is the Natural Resource Challenge, a five-year program that was begun last year to expand our base of scientific knowledge about natural resources in our parks, build the capability to implement solutions to resource problems, and strengthen partnerships with the scientific community. $18 million of the proposed operations increase would be used for various components of this initiative, such as accelerating completion of natural resource inventories at parks, eradicating invasive species, establishing multi-agency Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units, monitoring water quality in parks, improving air quality, and establishing Learning Centers that will host park-related research. The Natural Resource Challenge implements the provisions of Title II of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act (P.L. 105-391) which authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to take several specific steps to assure that management of units of the National Park System is enhanced by the availability and utilization of a broad program of the highest quality science and information.

Another $2.3 million of the operations increase would go to cultural resources protection for a variety of preservation activities, including our three-year-old Vanishing Treasures initiative. The goal of this initiative is to halt the deterioration of prehistoric and historic sites and structures at 41 parks in the Southwest and West and bring them to a condition in which they will be preserved by routine maintenance activities. The program concentrates on hiring and training individuals in the skills needed to accurately preserve these resources. Three park units--Aztec Ruins National Monument, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, and El Morro National Monument--would receive increases in their base funding for this purpose.

National Recreation and Preservation

National Recreation and Preservation activities would be funded at a level of $68.6 million, a net increase of $15.2 million over fiscal year 2000. This category covers a wide range of programs that support local community efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources, such as national heritage areas; the Federal Lands-to-Parks program; rivers, trails and conservation assistance; the National Register of Historic Places; the American Battlefield Protection Program; and statutory and contractual aid to partner institutions.

The $15.2 million proposed increase to this category is due largely to $20 million proposed for Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Act (UPARR) grants and their administration, up from $2 million appropriated for that purpose for Fiscal Year 2000. The revitalization of the UPARR program, which provides matching grants (70 percent federal/30 percent local) for rehabilitation of recreational facilities in inner-city neighborhoods, is part of the Administration’s Lands Legacy Initiative. The primary reduction proposed for the National Recreation and Preservation category is the $4.8 million net reduction in statutory and contractual aid.

Historic Preservation

The Historic Preservation Fund would be funded at a level of $72 million for Fiscal Year 2001, compared to $74.7 million in Fiscal Year 2000. The decrease is attributable to a $2.7 million reduction in grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), reflecting the progress that has been made in reaching the total level of spending for the HBCU program authorized in the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-333). The request includes $30 million for grants to save important historic sites and cultural artifacts under the Save America’s Treasures program.

Construction

Construction and major maintenance is proposed at a level of $180 million, a decrease of $41.2 million below the Fiscal Year 2000 amount. The decrease is attributable largely to a proposed $43 million reduction in line-item construction and maintenance from the Fiscal Year 2000 level of $151.4 million. The NPS has developed a 5-year priority list to focus funding on projects that address the most critical health and safety needs of the parks, fulfilling the Safe Visits to Public Lands initiative, as well as high-priority natural and cultural resource protection. The proposal includes $5 million for rehabilitation of NPS employee housing and trailer replacement, which was not funded at all in Fiscal Year 2000.

In addition, although the funding comes through the Department of Transportation, $165 million is authorized to be spent in Fiscal Year 2001 on roads and alternative forms of transportation in national park units through the Federal Lands Highways Program.

Land Acquisition

As part of the Administration’s Lands Legacy Initiative, the budget request includes $147.5 million for land acquisition in units of the National Park System. Federal acquisition priorities include $50 million for the Everglades ecosystem, including a $47 million grant to the State of Florida on a one-to-one cost-sharing basis; $22 million for threatened lands at Civil War battlefield parks; $5.4 million to protect fragile habitat at two park units in Southern California, Mojave National Preserve and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area; and $2.3 million for parks along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

The request also proposes $150 million for matching Land and Water Conservation Act state conservation grants, up from $40 million in Fiscal Year 2000 ($20 million in NPS land acquisition account and $20 million appropriated to the Department of the Interior in Title VI of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2000). Along with the UPARR program, the state grants program, which is used for purchasing park land and developing outdoor recreational facilities, was funded for the first time in five years in Fiscal Year 2000. The substantial increases in funding proposed for both of these programs in Fiscal Year 2001, in fulfillment of the Lands Legacy Initiative, would enable our nation to make a significant investment in open space and recreational opportunities that will improve the quality of life for Americans now and in the future.

Permanent Appropriations

In funding that will result from permanent appropriations, the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program is projected to produce fee receipts of $148 million for NPS in Fiscal Year 2001. Those funds would be used in addition to regular appropriations to remedy repair and maintenance backlogs, enhance resource management, and improve visitor services.

NPS also anticipates receiving an estimated $12 million in Fiscal Year 2001 from the National Parks Pass Program that was authorized by Title VI of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-391). We are planning to initiate sales of passes during National Parks Week which begins April 17, 2000. The receipts from the pass program will be deposited in a special account and used for high priority visitor service and resource management projects throughout the National Park System.

Additionally, park concessions franchise fees are expected to result in receipts of $16 million in Fiscal Year 2001, and concession improvement accounts are expected to produce $22 million. Fiscal Year 2001 will be the third year in which concessions fees are to be returned directly to NPS to be used to supplement appropriated funds for visitor services and high-priority resource management programs and operations. These fees are expected to increase in future years as all new and renewed contracts come under the terms Title IV of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-391) and the regulations promulgated pursuant to that law.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my prepared remarks. I will be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.