February 4, 2015
Aly Baltrus (ZION), 435-772-0160
Daphne Sewing (CEBR), 435-586-9451
John Hiscock (PISP), 928-643-7105
Within the National Park Service, there are 405 national parks, 23 national scenic and national historic trails, and 60 wild and scenic rivers that National Park Service is charged with preserving for their cultural and historic significance, scenic and environmental worth, and educational and recreational opportunities. Springdale, Utah; Cedar City, Utah; Fredonia, Arizona –President Obama's budget request for 2016 –the National Park Service's centennial year –includes $3 billion to help national parks meet their critical conservation, preservation, and recreation mission. The budget boosts the National Park Service's essential programs and operational needs by $432.9 million above 2014 levels. The President's budget highlights the importance of investing in parks, including leveraging additional funds through private philanthropy for matching grants supporting park programs and projects.
Zion National Park, and its sister parks, Pipe Spring National Monument and Cedar Breaks National Monument, are pleased with the show of support. "This Centennial budget is an investment that will help us to maintain and improve our quality of service, conserve resources of natural and historic significance and tell the compelling stories of our Nation's history. National Parks are forever and will evolve as the American story progresses. We look forward to serving our American and international visitors as we enter a second century of stewardship and public engagement" said Zion National Park Superintendent Jeffrey Bradybaugh.
John Jarvis, the Director of the National Park Service recently stated, "This is an investment in America's Best Idea. For every dollar appropriated to the National Park Service in the President's 2016 Centennial budget, $10 is returned to the American economy in the form of visitor spending, travel and tourism and construction jobs." Parks are important economic generators for local and state economies. In 2013, the approximately 3.3 million visitors to the three parks generated an estimated $175,580,200 in economic benefit to local communities.
The President's budget proposal would provide targeted increases for the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative, a multi-year effort to support the preservation of America's natural, cultural and historic treasures, invest wisely in the National Park System's most important assets, expand the use of parks for informal learning and recreation, engage 600,000 volunteers, and enhance the National Park Service's ability to leverage partnerships to accomplish its mission. It includes funding to put hundreds more seasonal employees in the familiar Green and Gray uniform in an effort to serve its increasing visitation. The Centennial Initiative requests $242.8 million across the operations and construction accounts to restore and maintain all 6,735 highest priority facility assets in good condition over 10 years, complemented by a mandatory proposal to provide $300.0 million annually over three years for deferred maintenance projects. Other funds will focus on increasing the park's ability to act as classrooms for millions of students across the country, reducing the maintenance backlog, and completing resource management projects. It will also provide $40 million in federal matching funds for NPS Centennial Challenge projects, which are designed to leverage partnerships with outside organizations to bring additional funding to support our national parks.
"At Zion, Pipe Spring and Cedar Breaks this means that we could match the donations raised by the Zion National Park Foundation's Youth Initiative to reach more children with programs and bus scholarships," said Bradybaugh.
Within the National Park Service, there are 405 national parks, 23 national scenic and national historic trails, and 60 wild and scenic rivers that National Park Service is charged with preserving for their cultural and historic significance, scenic and environmental worth, and educational and recreational opportunities.