National Park Service: FY2015 and FY2016 Appropriations Page: 2 of 2
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Another 2% of the appropriation went to the Historic
Preservation Fund (HPF). Through this fund, established by
the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C.
470), NPS provides grants to state, local, tribal, and
private entities to conserve cultural and historical assets and
sites. The grants are normally awarded on a 60% federal/
40% state cost-share basis, and they are administered by
state and tribal historic preservation offices.
Finally, less than 1% of the FY2015 appropriation went to a
Centennial Challenge account, consisting of a matching-
grant program to spur partner donations for park
improvements in anticipation of the National Park System's
100t anniversary in 2016. This program also received
discretionary appropriations in FY2008 and FY2010. Both
the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations sought
additional mandatory appropriations of up to $100 million
for this fund, but Congress did not enact such legislation.
NPS again requested this mandatory funding for FY2016.
Issues in NPS Appropriations
NPS's growing backlog of deferred maintenance continues
to be an issue as Congress considers appropriations for
FY2016. The Department of the Interior estimated the NPS
backlog for FY2014 at $9.31 billion to $13.70 billion, with
a mid-range figure of $11.50 billion. Despite agency efforts
to address the backlog through improved inventory and
asset management, it has continued to increase.
NPS funding to address deferred maintenance comes from
discretionary appropriations and from other sources. Two
appropriations subaccounts (one under Construction and the
other under ONPS) are partially used to address deferred
maintenance. Allocations to the agency from the Federal
Highway Administration are used for NPS road
construction and repair. Other sources, such as recreation
fee collections, may also be used.
Congress has considered whether to increase discretionary
funding for NPS deferred maintenance, whether to provide
mandatory funding outside the annual appropriations
process, and/or whether the agency needs to use existing
funding more efficiently. In the 113t Congress, in addition
to discretionary appropriations, P.L. 113-40 provided
mandatory funding from federal helium sales for NPS
deferred maintenance, totaling $50.0 million over two years
(FY2018-FY2019). Funded projects must have a nonfederal
cost share. The Administration's FY2016 budget request
seeks other new mandatory funding, as well as increased
discretionary funding (see below), to address the NPS
backlog as the agency's centennial anniversary nears.
For FY2015, P.L. 113-235 included $25.0 million in the
ONPS account and $10.0 million in the Centennial
Challenge account for activities related to the agency's
2016 centennial. These activities include preparations for a
potentially high number of visitors during the centennial, as
well as broader efforts to address deferred maintenance and
improve park infrastructure and resource stewardship for
National Park Service: FY2015 and FY2016 Appropriations
the agency's "second century." For FY2016, NPS requests
increases of $326.3 million in discretionary appropriations
and $500 million in mandatory funding for centennial-
The 113t Congress discussed in Senate hearings, but did
not act on, other potential ways to address NPS funding in
connection with the centennial. Proposals focused on
funding sources to supplement discretionary appropriations,
such as an NPS endowment, increased fees, enhanced donor
partnerships, or other types of mandatory appropriations.
Land Acquisition Funding
The extent to which NPS land acquisition funding should
be increased, decreased, or redirected continues to be a
focus for appropriators. NPS's land acquisition funding is
appropriated from the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
which is due to expire on September 30, 2015. At a broad
level, some in Congress object to further expansion of the
federal estate, whereas others feel that more areas need
federal protection. For NPS, some Members have suggested
that agency funding to acquire new lands is misplaced when
maintenance needs for the existing lands in the system are
not being met. Some also assert that certain recent
acquisitions have lacked the national value of many iconic
sites of the National Park System. Supporters of NPS land
acquisition funding have emphasized that the majority of
funds are used to acquire nonfederal inholdings within
existing park units, and they have contended that such
acquisitions help to "complete" valued parks and may even
facilitate maintenance efforts.
NPS Assistance to Nonfederal Sites
Both Congress and the Administration have questioned
whether some NPS assistance to nonfederal areas should be
reduced in light of agency budget constraints. Two agency
accounts (the NR&P and HPF accounts), along with a
portion of the LASA account, are used to fund NPS
assistance to nonfederal entities, although these accounts
combined represent less than 10% of the agency's total
funding. In FY2016, as in previous years, the
Administration has proposed that NPS funding for national
heritage areas (which are nonfederally managed) should be
reduced by about half to focus funding on the agency's core
mission of managing the federal parks. However, Congress
has not concurred with NPS requests for heritage area
funding reductions in recent years.
For More Information
For more information, see CRS Report R42757, National
Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends;
CRS Report R43617, Interior, Environment, and Related
Agencies: FY2015 Appropriations; and CRS Report
R43997, Deferred Maintenance of Federal Land
Management Agencies: FY2005-FY2014 Estimates.
Laura B. Comay, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7-6036
www.crs.gov I 7-5700
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National Park Service: FY2015 and FY2016 Appropriations, report, June 5, 2015; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc806823/m1/2/: accessed February 15, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.