WASHINGTON—Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner to the National Park Service (NPS), issued the following statement upon release of S.3422, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), bipartisan legislation that includes language from S.500, the Restore Our Parks Act:
“The National Park Foundation has been a strong advocate of efforts to address and reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance in our national parks. We are excited by the recent activity in Congress and are in complete support of the Great American Outdoors Act. We look forward to working with Congress to get this historic legislation across the finish line.”
As introduced, GAOA incorporates much of the language from S. 500, the Restore Our Parks Act. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Authorize up to $1.9 billion per year for agency projects over five years, with an emphasis on deferred maintenance needs, for fiscal years 2021-2025.
- Of the authorized funds for agency projects, 70 percent would be available to the National Park Service (NPS).
- Unlike S. 500, GAOA includes additional land management agencies and provides for permanent, mandatory, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
According to NPS, as of September 30, 2018, deferred maintenance within the National Park System totaled $11.92 billion. More than 50 percent ($6.15 billion) of this deferred maintenance can be attributed to paved roads and structures, with the remainder categorized as non-transportation related assets.
“The National Park Foundation is delighted to see bipartisan consensus and increased momentum toward tackling the deferred maintenance backlog in our national parks as part of broader legislation to provide permanent, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. As the Foundation carries out its mission to enrich the National Park Service’s second century of stewardship, we look forward to working with leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives to enact this historic legislation into law.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.