Biden proposes 3.5 billion for parks budget

The Biden-Harris administration today submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2022. The budget invests $3.5 billion in the National Park Service (NPS) to help the country build back better by modernizing parks and park infrastructure, investing in conservation efforts, expanding visitor access, and keeping visitors safe.

“The Interior Department plays an important role in the President’s plan to reinvest in the American people. From bolstering climate resiliency and increasing renewable energy, to supporting Tribal nations and advancing environmental justice, President Biden’s budget will make much-needed investments in communities and projects that will advance our vision for a robust and equitable clean energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.

“President Biden’s budget supports efforts across the National Park Service to recover from the pandemic, expand the benefits of the great outdoors to all Americans and respond to the ongoing challenges of climate change,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “The proposed National Park Service budget of $3.5 billion together with another $1.1 billion in mandatory funding, will allow us to make needed improvements to parks across the country, providing our visitors with better experiences and advancing the mission of the National Park Service to preserve and protect these lands unimpaired for future generations.”

At the National Park Service, the budget would support:

  • Responding to the Pandemic and Keeping Visitors Safe: The President’s budget provides funding for continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to strengthen visitor safety. This includes a $1 million increase in funding to the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service to expand testing, ensure a strong public health presence in parks, and serve communities’ public health needs across the U.S. The budget also includes a $10 million increase for projects to improve lands, waters and ecosystems across the country impacted by mineral extraction, mitigating hazards to visitors, employees and wildlife. Finally, the budget includes funding to sustain a long-term body worn camera program for law enforcement park rangers and the United States Park Police to enhance public trust and accountability in law enforcement.
  • Expanding Visitor Access and Equity: The President’s budget includes increased funding to American Indian Tribes for preservation of their cultural heritage ($8 million increase) and competitive grants targeted at preservation projects related to the African American experience ($5 million increase). The budget includes $10 million in funding for construction at the Selma Interpretive Center for a voting rights center that honors the legacy of Civil Rights leaders, including that of the late Representative John Lewis , as well as $7.5 million to rehabilitate the visitor center at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park.
  • Responding to Climate Change and Investing in Conservation: The President’s budget builds much-needed support to respond to climate change and conserve lands and waters. This includes an increase of $14 million to support climate vulnerability assessments and environmental impact planning. These efforts will improve NPS investment decisions by strengthening understanding and management of key climate and environmental threats. Additionally, as climate change is increasing the severity and frequency of many weather-related events, the budget includes a substantial increase in funding for emergency construction projects to ensure that NPS operations can recover more quickly after facilities and resources are damaged or destroyed. The budget also includes increased mandatory funding to support high-priority land acquisition efforts: a proposed 131,572 acres in 33 projects across the United States contributing to the President’s conservation goals.
  • Modernizing Parks and Park Infrastructure: The President’s proposed budget supports park modernization while contributing to the economies of parks’ gateway communities and beyond. The budget devotes $45 million to implement the Civilian Climate Corps, which will create jobs while mobilizing the next generation of conservation and resilience workers. Funding made possible by the Great American Outdoors Act’s National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund will support 36 projects, totaling over $1 billion in gross construction, that will address more than $835 million in deferred maintenance. This funding will improve the condition of roads, buildings, utility systems and other assets in 29 park units located in 14 States and will address critical life, health and safety issues as well as related code compliance and accessibility deficiencies. The budget also includes $20 million to begin replacing the NPS-owned fleet with zero emission vehicles and developing the necessary charging infrastructure across the National Park System.

In 2019, 328 million park visitors spent an estimated $21 billion in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands across the country. These expenditures supported a total of 341,000 jobs, $14.1 billion in labor income, $24.3 billion in value added, and $41.7 billion in economic output in the national economy.

For more information on the President’s FY22 Budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.

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