The National Park Restoration Act


The National Park Restoration Act

The National Park Service is by far one of the most popular federal agencies. Over 330 million visits were recorded to national park sites in 2016, generating over $18 billion in visitor spending to local communities and over 315,000 jobs.  But NPS is over 100 years old and many its facilities are aging and badly in need of repairs.  Currently the National Park Service has an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog. Their annual appropriation from Congress is roughly a quarter of that. Idahoans love to visit Yellowstone and Craters of the Moon but they are not immune from this problem with $515 million and $7 million respectively in deferred maintenance costs.

That is why Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and I introduced H.R. 5210, the National Park Restoration Act. The bill takes onshore and offshore revenues from energy production not designated for other purposes and directs the money towards deferred maintenance in our parks. This legislation has the potential to generate billions of dollars to address this backlog. The legislation is also supported by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the Senate introduced a companion bill by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Angus King (I-ME).

What the bill does:

  • Creates the National Park Restoration Fund to provide mandatory funding for the high-priority deferred maintenance needs that support critical infrastructure and visitor services at our national parks.
  • Provides mandatory funding for the maintenance backlog on top of annual appropriations for operations and construction at the National Park Service.
  • The fund receives 50 percent of onshore and offshore revenues from energy production on federal lands over expected amounts that are not already allocated to other purposes. 
  • Protects payments to states, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Reclamation Fund, and all other existing uses of onshore and offshore revenues. These existing uses will receive all of their funding before the National Park Restoration Fund receives any funding.

What they’re saying about the National Park Restoration Act:

We welcome this legislation in contributing to the ongoing conversation of developing new solutions to address this important issue. Americans expect and deserve their public lands to be in a good condition when they visit, and we look forward to working with the sponsors, and other supporters of our parks and public lands, in moving forward a widely-supported solution to this problem.”

-Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO, The Corps Network

Thank you for your leadership in developing the National Park Restoration Act, an important effort to overcome the more than $11 billion backlog in maintenance in our national parks. Roads, buildings, trails, campgrounds, water systems and more suffer from this accumulated problem – and visitor safety and enjoyment of our parks natural and historic resources are very real concerns."

-Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, including the American Horse Council, Archery Trade Association, Association of Marina Industries, American Sportfishing Association, BoatUS, International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, Motorcycle Industry Council, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Park Hospitality Association, Outdoor Industry Association, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association, Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America

National Parks are the backbone of the federal recreation system. For far too long these treasures have not received the care and attention worthy of America’s ‘Best Idea’. Rep. Mike Simpson’s bipartisan legislation to address the multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog is the type of action and leadership needed for the Parks to thrive for the next 100 years and beyond.”

-Fred Ferguson, VP, Government Relations, Vista Outdoor 

Introduction of another park maintenance bill shows Congress is listening to the thousands of voices calling on them to #FixOurParks. Thx @CongMikeSimpson @RepSchrader @SenAlexander @SenAngusKing @MartinHeinrich”

-The Pew Charitable Trusts

"In Yellowstone National Park, we have experienced an unprecedented increase in visitation over the past few years, exceeding 4 million visits for the first time in 2015. With a deferred maintenance backlog of $515 million, the park is working hard to keep its roads and facilities safe, clean and welcoming for our visitors and our employees. We applaud Representative Simpson, Representative Schrader, Senator Alexander, and Senator King for their efforts to support the National Park Service."
          -Dan Wenk, Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park