The National Park Service (NPS) is over 100 years old, and many of the more than 400 sites it manages nationwide have aging infrastructure and facilities. To address this problem, federal lawmakers in 2020 enacted the Great American Outdoors Act, the largest investment in national park infrastructure since World War II. The law provides up to $6.65 billion over five years for repairs to roads, bridges, trails, historic buildings, water and electrical systems, memorials and monuments, and other park resources.
According to the NPS, Americans and tourists from across the globe made 327 million visits to national park sites in 2019, and visitor spending generated 340,500 jobs and more than $41 billion in national economic output. Successful implementation of the act will require the NPS to prioritize infrastructure needs, work with outside partners, and ensure a transparent process.
For more information on Pew’s work on deferred maintenance funding for national parks and our efforts to ensure that the resources are used judiciously, see below.