In the wake of news that the maintenance backlog at America’s national parks has hit an all-time high of nearly $12 billion, President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 announced Tuesday includes $3.1 billion for the National Park Service to support critical conservation, preservation, and recreation programs for the country’s most iconic, natural, cultural, and historical landscapes.
The budget request would boost the National Park Service’s essential programs and operational needs by $250.2 million above the FY 2016 enacted levels.
“This is a smart, innovative and forward-looking budget that invests in Interior’s key missions – now and in the future – so we can continue to serve the American people,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement. “The President’s budget provides targeted investments to create economic opportunities by growing our domestic energy portfolio, building climate resilient communities, and revitalizing America’s national parks as we mark their 100th anniversary.”
Last year’s numbers show that the national parks are at a popularity high, with more than 305 million people visiting the 409 parks in the National Park System in 2015, eclipsing the all-time visitation record the NPS saw in the previous year. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through Asheville, was the most visited unit in the Park Service with 15 million visitors in 2015. The parkway also had one of the highest deferred maintenance backlogs, totalling $516 million, a record high.
The FY 2017 budget builds on FY 2016 Centennial Initiative funding to address deferred maintenance of the…
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