National Park Service Centennial Act
On March 3, 2016, Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced legislation, the National Park Service Centennial Act, to create two new funds to support the parks: a Second Century Endowment fund, administered by the National Park Foundation, and a Centennial Challenge fund that would promote signature park development, upkeep projects, and youth engagement efforts. The legislation would provide dedicated annual resources for both funds; revenue for the Challenge Fund would be generated by increasing the one-time cost of a lifetime senior park pass from $10 to $80, and federal contributions would need to be matched dollar-for-dollar from private sources. The Second Century fund would also receive monies from an increase in park lodging fees.
Enactment of the bill would be a step toward addressing the NPS-estimated $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog in the National Park System and developing a guaranteed annual funding mechanism to tackle infrastructure repair needs within the parks.
On March 16, 2016, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the legislation, which is now awaiting a vote by the full House of Representatives. As the NPS enters its second century, much more needs to be done to ensure that the agency is adequately prepared to meet the needs of visitors and to protect America’s significant natural, cultural, and historic resources for future generations.