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Contact: David Barna, 202-208-6843
Contact: Jeffrey Olson, 202-208-6843
Proposal reflects strategic investments in America's Great Outdoors
WASHINGTON -The National Park Service is the steward of the Nation's most cherished natural and cultural resources. As the keeper of 397 park units, 23 national scenic and national historic trails, and 58 wild and scenic rivers, NPS is charged with preserving these lands and historic features that were designated by the Nation for their cultural and historic significance, scenic and environmental worth, and educational and recreational opportunities.Additionally, the NPS further helps the Nation protect resources for public enjoyment through its grant and technical assistance programs.
The President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget released today requests $2.6 billion to support the bureau's critical national recreation, preservation and conservation mission. The 2013 President's budget request fully funds $27.0 million in fixed costs and provides increases totaling $39.2 million to fund essential programs and emerging operational needs.Reflecting the President's call for fiscal discipline and sustainability, the budget also includes $67.2 million in strategic reductions in park and program operations, construction, and heritage partnership programs.
The 2013 President's budget requests increases or maintains funding for programs that support the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative.The budget includes $2.3 million for NPS operations, an increase of $13.5 million.The budget also requests increases for programs funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).The $2.5 million increase to LWCF Federal land acquisition includes projects that strategically invest in interagency landscape-scale conservation projects and meet agency-specific programmatic needs.The $60.0 million LWCF State Conservation Grants program includes a competitive State Conservation grants program that would focus on larger-scale urban landscapes and collaborative conservation.The budget keeps funding level for Historic Preservation Fund Grants-in-Aid to States, Territories, and Tribes, which is funded at $55.9 million, and retains $10 million in funding for the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.
The budget includes program reductions of $21.6 million for park base operations and $1.0 million for servicewide programs. These reductions will be applied strategically to minimize the impact on the visitor experience and park resources. The budget funds $52.4 million for line-item construction projects, a $25.3 million reduction from 2012.It provides funding for only the highest priority construction projects that are critical to visitor and employee health and safety and does not propose funding for new buildings. The budget also includes an $8.1 million decrease for National Heritage Area grants.The proposed reduction promotes the goal of long-term sustainability of NHAs and the continued importance of Federal seed money for less mature areas, consistent with the directive in the 2010 Interior Appropriations Act for the more established NHAs to work toward becoming more self- sufficient.
Sustaining funding for park operations is a priority. "In these tough economic times we recognize the value the 397 national parks provide all Americans - as places of introspection and recreation and as economic engines that create jobs and help our gateway communities thrive," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "In 2010, national park visitors - 281 million of them - were responsible for a $31 billion impact on the nation's economy. From motel rooms to gas for the car and souvenirs, visitor spending supported more than 258,400 American jobs."
National parks are also an important part of international tourism, America's number one export in 2010.
In January, President Obama launched the creation of a Travel & Competitiveness Task Force to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States. A particular focus of the Task Force will be on strategies for increasing tourism and recreation jobs by promoting visits to our national treasures - including our national parks - that attract travelers from around the country and the globe.
"President Obama last month highlighted national parks as extraordinary attractions for international visitors," Jarvis said. "Those of us in the National Park Service have first-hand knowledge from the stories international visitors tell us as they try to explain what it feels like to see the Grand Canyon or Old Faithful, Lady Liberty or the ocean booming on the rocky shores of Acadia National Park."
Looking beyond parks, Jarvis said the NPS is on the ground with programs that revitalize America's great outdoors through grants for recreation, conservation, and preservation. "Grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund help improve local recreation opportunities," he said.In addition, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the NPS continues battlefield protection land acquisition grants funded through the LWCF. 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 LWCF would also provide funds to purchase battlefield lands within national parks. Jarvis also noted the economic benefits of other NPS programs. "Last year our tax credit program provided incentives for more than $4 billion in private investment in historic preservation; and our Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program just announced more than 200 projects to improve trails and waterways across the country."
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 397 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.