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National Park Service Appropriations: Ten-Year Trends

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. National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends Laura B. Comay Analyst in Natural Resources Policy May 29, 2015 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R42757 c11173008 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Summary The National Park Service (NPS) receives appropriations in the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. For FY2016, the Obama Administration requested $3.048 billion in discretionary appropriations for NPS, an increase of $433.1 million (16.6%) over the enacted FY2015 amount of $2.615 billion. In addition to the discretionary funding, the Administration also proposed $1.160 billion in mandatory appropriations for NPS, more than twice the FY2015 level of $505.8 million (+129.3%). Some of the mandatory appropriations would require changes in authorizing law. The discretionary and mandatory requests bring the Administration’s total request for NPS for FY2016 to $4.208 billion, an increase of $1.087 billion (or 34.8%) over the FY2015 total of $3.121 billion. NPS has stated that much of the increased funding would be used to address the agency’s growing backlog of deferred maintenance, in connection with its upcoming centennial anniversary in 2016. This report discusses NPS’s FY2016 appropriations and also examines trends in the agency’s discretionary appropriations over the past decade (FY2006-FY2015). NPS appropriations rose and fell during that time. Overall, the enacted discretionary appropriation for FY2015 showed an increase of 15.9% in nominal dollars but a decrease of 0.2% in inflation-adjusted dollars compared to a decade earlier (FY2006). For most of this time, the NPS discretionary appropriation included five accounts. The largest by far is the Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) account, which supports the activities, programs, and services that form the day-to-day operations of the park system. The majority of ONPS funds are provided directly to managers of individual park units. This account grew over the decade by 8.9% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Another account, for federal and state land acquisition funding under the Land and Water Conservation Fund, grew by 81.4% in inflationadjusted dollars. The other three accounts showed declines over the decade ranging from 8.0% to 62.1% in inflation-adjusted dollars. A sixth account, the Centennial Challenge account, was funded only in certain years. The funding changes took place in the context of relative stability in the size of the National Park System, which grew slightly (+0.2%) from 84.3 million to 84.5 million acres over the past 10 years. NPS staffing levels fluctuated around 20,000 and grew overall. Visits to the parks also increased over the decade, peaking at approximately 293 million in 2014. c11173008 Congressional Research Service National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Contents FY2016 Appropriations for NPS ..................................................................................................... 1 Trends in NPS Discretionary Appropriations .................................................................................. 3 Operation of the National Park System Account ....................................................................... 7 Construction Account ................................................................................................................ 8 National Recreation and Preservation Account ....................................................................... 10 Historic Preservation Fund ...................................................................................................... 11 Land Acquisition and State Assistance .................................................................................... 12 NPS Appropriations in Context ..................................................................................................... 14 Size of the National Park System ............................................................................................ 14 Visits to the National Parks ..................................................................................................... 15 National Park Service Staffing ................................................................................................ 16 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 17 Figures Figure 1. NPS Appropriations, FY2006-FY2015 ............................................................................ 3 Figure 2. NPS’s FY2015 Discretionary Appropriations by Account ............................................... 5 Figure 3. Appropriations for NPS’s Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) Account, FY2006-FY2015 ........................................................................................................... 7 Figure 4. Appropriations for NPS’s Construction Account, FY2006-FY2015 ................................ 9 Figure 5. Appropriations for NPS’s National Recreation and Preservation (NR&P) Account, FY2006-FY2015 ......................................................................................................... 10 Figure 6. Appropriations for NPS’s Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Account, FY2006FY2015 ....................................................................................................................................... 12 Figure 7. Appropriations for NPS’s Land Acquisition and State Assistance (LASA) Account, FY2006-FY2015 ......................................................................................................... 13 Figure 8. Size of the National Park System, FY2006-FY2015...................................................... 14 Figure 9. Annual Recreational Visits to the National Park System, 2006-2015 ............................ 16 Figure 10. NPS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff, FY2006-FY2015........................................... 17 Tables Table 1. Discretionary Appropriations for the National Park Service: FY2016 Request vs. FY2015 Enacted ........................................................................................................................... 1 Table 2. NPS Discretionary Appropriations, FY2006-FY2015 ....................................................... 4 Table 3. NPS Appropriations by Account, FY2006-FY2015........................................................... 6 Table 4. Size of the National Park System, FY2006-FY2015 ....................................................... 15 Table 5. Annual Recreational Visits to the National Park System, 2006-2015 .............................. 16 Table 6. NPS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff, FY2006-FY2015 .............................................. 17 c11173008 Congressional Research Service National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Contacts Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 18 c11173008 Congressional Research Service National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . T he National Park Service (NPS) administers the National Park System, which covers 84.5 million acres of land and consists of 407 diverse units valued for their natural, cultural, and recreational importance. NPS receives appropriations in the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. This report discusses NPS appropriations for FY2016 and examines trends in the agency’s discretionary appropriations over the past decade (FY2006-FY2015). It also discusses changes in the size of the National Park System, numbers of recreation visits to the parks, and NPS staffing levels during that period. FY2016 Appropriations for NPS For FY2016, the Obama Administration requested $3.048 billion in discretionary appropriations for NPS, an increase of $433.1 million, or 16.6%, over the enacted FY2015 amount of $2.615 billion (Table 1).1 In addition to the discretionary funding, the Administration also proposed $1.160 billion in mandatory appropriations for NPS, more than twice the FY2015 level of $505.8 million (+129.3%; see text box below). Some of the mandatory appropriations would require changes in authorizing law. The discretionary and mandatory requests bring the Administration’s total request for NPS for FY2016 to $4.208 billion, an increase of $1.087 billion (or 34.8%) over the FY2015 total of $3.121 billion. NPS has stated that much of the increased funding would be used to address the agency’s growing backlog of deferred maintenance, in connection with its upcoming centennial anniversary in 2016.2 Table 1. Discretionary Appropriations for the National Park Service: FY2016 Request vs. FY2015 Enacted ($ in millions) Change from FY2015 FY2015 Enacted FY2016 Request $ % 2,275.8 2,515.1 +239.4 +10.5% Resource Stewardship 317.2 351.2 +34.0 +10.7% Visitor Services 243.0 276.9 +33.9 +14.0% Park Protection 348.8 359.0 +10.2 +2.9% Facility Operations & Maintenance 697.3 848.9 +151.6 +21.7% Park Support 489.4 498.4 +8.9 +1.8% External Administrative Costs 180.0 180.6 +0.6 +0.3% National Recreation and Preservation 63.1 54.2 -8.9 -14.1% Heritage Partnership Programs 20.3 10.0 -10.3 -50.7% Other 42.8 44.2 +1.4 +3.3% Historic Preservation Fund 56.4 89.9 +33.5 +59.3% Account Operation of the National Park System 1 National Park Service, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2016, p. Overview-4, http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY-2016-Greenbook.pdf. 2 For more on NPS’s deferred maintenance backlog, estimated for FY2014 at a mid-range figure of $11.5 billion, see CRS Report R43997, Deferred Maintenance of Federal Land Management Agencies: FY2005-FY2014 Estimates, by Carol Hardy Vincent. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 1 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Account FY2015 Enacted FY2016 Request 138.3 Change from FY2015 $ % 251.0 +112.6 +81.5% -28.0 -30.0 -2.0 -7.1% Land Acquisition and State Assistance 99.0 117.5 +18.5 +18.7% Assistance to States 48.1 53.2 +5.0 +10.6% NPS Acquisition 50.8 64.3 +13.5 +26.6% Centennial Challenge 10.0 50.0 +40.0 +400.0% 2,614.6 3,047.7 +433.1 +16.6% Construction Land and Water Conservation Funda Total Appropriations Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for the National Park Service. a. Figures reflect a rescission of contract authority. Mandatory Appropriations in NPS’s FY2016 Budget Request Most of the National Park Service’s funding comes from discretionary appropriations, which are controlled by annual appropriations acts. However, NPS also receives mandatory appropriations under laws enacted by the authorizing committees, which allow the agency to spend money without further action by Congress. NPS’s mandatory appropriations include recreation fees, concession franchise fees, receipts from leasing, and direct cash donations, among others. Some mandatory receipts, such as recreation fees, are targeted for use at the park units where they were collected, while others, such as concession fees, are used for system-wide programs. In its FY2016 budget request, NPS seeks changes in law that would significantly increase the mandatory spending available to the agency. In particular, NPS asks Congress to establish: • a mandatory Centennial Challenge matching-grant fund to spur partner donations for park improvement projects, with $100 million per year for three years; • a Second Century Infrastructure Investment fund to address deferred maintenance needs, with $300 million per year for three years; • a Public Lands Centennial Fund, under which multiple land management agencies would compete for funding to address conservation and infrastructure project needs, with $100 million per year for three years; and • permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with mandatory spending of $106.7 million for NPS in FY2015, along with a further $25 million for Urban Park Rehabilitation and Recovery Grants. Along with existing programs, these new proposals bring NPS’s proposed mandatory appropriations for FY2016 to $1.160 billion, more than twice the level of recent years. Much of the request aims to address the growing backlog of deferred maintenance in the 407 units of the National Park System, estimated at $9.31 billion to $13.70 billion for FY2014, with a mid-range figure of $11.50 billion. In its budget request, NPS states that the requested mandatory and discretionary funding, taken together, would allow the agency to make “targeted, measurable, and quantifiable upgrades to all 6,735 of its highest priority non-transportation assets and restore and maintain them in good condition.” New mandatory spending would be subject to certain budget enforcement requirements, including the potential need to offset such spending. These requirements represent a hurdle for NPS's mandatory proposals. The 113th Congress did not act on similar mandatory funding legislation requested by NPS for FY2015. Source: NPS, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2016, http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/ FY-2016-Greenbook.pdf. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 2 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Trends in NPS Discretionary Appropriations The sections below examine trends over the past decade (FY2006-FY2015) in NPS discretionary appropriations. The agency’s discretionary appropriations increased over the decade by 15.9% in actual (nominal) dollars, growing from $2.256 billion in FY2006 to $2.615 billion in FY2015. However, when dollar values are adjusted for inflation, appropriations declined slightly (by 0.2%) over the decade (see Figure 1 and Table 2).3 A spike in appropriations occurred in FY2009, when

National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends

February 23, 2016 (R42757) Jump to Main Text of Report

Contents

Summary

The National Park Service (NPS) receives appropriations in the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. On December 18, 2015, the President signed into law P.L. 114-113, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, containing FY2016 appropriations of $2.851 billion for NPS. The enacted appropriation represents an increase of $236.6 million (9.1%) over the FY2015 enacted amount but a decrease of $196.4 million from the agency request. The Obama Administration had requested $3.048 billion in discretionary appropriations for NPS for FY2016.

Earlier, on June 18, 2015, the House Appropriations Committee reported H.R. 2822, which contained appropriations of $2.667 billion for NPS. On June 23, 2015, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported S. 1645, containing $2.729 billion for NPS. Because no regular Interior appropriations act for FY2016 was enacted prior to the end of FY2015, a series of laws (P.L. 114-53, P.L. 114-96, and P.L. 114-100) provided continuing appropriations for NPS until full-year FY2016 appropriations were enacted in P.L. 114-113.

The Obama Administration released its FY2017 budget request for NPS in February 2016. For FY2017, the agency seeks $3.101 billion in discretionary appropriations, an increase of $250.2 million (8.8%) over the enacted FY2016 appropriation. In addition to the discretionary funding, the Administration proposes $1.238 billion in mandatory appropriations for NPS for FY2017, a growth of 135.6% over NPS mandatory funding in FY2016 ($525.4 million). Some of the mandatory appropriations would require changes in authorizing law. The discretionary and mandatory requests bring the Administration's total request for NPS for FY2017 to $4.339 billion, an increase of $962.5 million (or 28.5%) over the FY2016 total of $3.376 billion. NPS states that much of the additional funding would be used to address the agency's growing backlog of deferred maintenance, in connection with NPS's centennial anniversary in 2016.

This report discusses NPS's FY2016 appropriations and examines trends in the agency's discretionary appropriations over the past decade (FY2007-FY2016). NPS appropriations rose and fell during that time. Overall, the enacted discretionary appropriation for FY2016 represented an increase of 24.0% in nominal dollars and 7.5% in inflation-adjusted dollars compared with a decade earlier (FY2007).

For most of this time, the NPS discretionary appropriation included five accounts. The largest by far is the Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) account, which supports the activities, programs, and services that form the day-to-day operations of the park system. The majority of ONPS funds are provided directly to managers of individual park units. This account grew over the decade by 11.6% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Another account, for federal and state land acquisition funding under the Land and Water Conservation Fund, grew by 135.3% in inflation-adjusted dollars. The other three accounts showed declines over the decade ranging from 8.4% to 43.7% in inflation-adjusted dollars. A sixth account, the Centennial Challenge account, was funded only in certain years.

The funding changes took place in the context of relative stability in the size of the National Park System, which grew slightly (by 0.3%) from 84.3 million to 84.6 million acres over the past 10 years. NPS staffing levels fluctuated around 20,000 and grew overall. Visits to the parks also increased over the decade, peaking at approximately 307 million visits in 2015.

National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends
The National Park Service (NPS) administers the National Park System, which covers 84.6 million acres of land and consists of 410 diverse units valued for their natural, cultural, and recreational importance. NPS receives appropriations in the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. This report discusses NPS appropriations for FY2016 and examines trends in the agency's discretionary appropriations over the past decade (FY2007-FY2016). It also discusses changes in the size of the National Park System, numbers of recreation visits to the parks, and NPS staffing levels during that period. FY2016 NPS Appropriations and FY2017 Request The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L. 114-113), was signed into law by the President on December 18, 2015. The act appropriates $2.851 billion for NPS, an increase of $236.6 million (9.1%) over the FY2015 enacted amount and a decrease of $196.4 million from the agency request. The Obama Administration had requested $3.048 billion in discretionary appropriations for NPS for FY2016.1 Earlier, on June 18, 2015, the House Appropriations Committee reported H.R. 2822 (H.Rept. 114-170), which contained appropriations of $2.667 billion for NPS, an increase of $52.5 million (2.0%) over the FY2015 enacted amount and a decrease of $380.6 million from the agency request.2 On June 23, 2015, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported its version of the bill, S. 1645 (S.Rept. 114-70). The Senate committee bill contained $2.729 billion for NPS, an increase of $114.4 million (4.4%) over the FY2015 appropriation and a decrease of $318.7 million from the NPS request (Table 1). Because no regular Interior appropriations act for FY2016 was enacted prior to the end of FY2015, a series of laws (P.L. 114-53, P.L. 114-96, and P.L. 114-100) provided continuing appropriations for NPS until full-year FY2016 appropriations were enacted in P.L. 114-113. The Obama Administration released its FY2017 budget request for NPS in February 2016. For FY2017, the agency seeks $3.101 billion in discretionary appropriations, an increase of $250.2 million (8.8%) over the enacted FY2016 appropriation. In addition to the discretionary funding, the Administration proposes $1.238 billion in mandatory appropriations for NPS for FY2017 (see text box below)—a growth of 135.6% over NPS mandatory funding in FY2016 ($525.4 million). Some of the mandatory appropriations would require changes in authorizing law. The discretionary and mandatory requests bring the Administration's total request for NPS for FY2017 to $4.339 billion, an increase of $962.5 million (or 28.5%) over the FY2016 total of $3.376 billion. NPS states that much of the additional funding would be used to address the agency's growing backlog of deferred maintenance, in connection with NPS's centennial anniversary in 2016.3 Table 1. FY2016 Discretionary Appropriations for the National Park Service (NPS)

($ in millions)

Account

FY2015 Enacted

FY2016 Request

House Committee Bill (H.R. 2822)

Change from FY2015

Senate Committee Bill (S. 1645)

Change from FY2015

FY2016 Approps. Act (P.L. 114-113)

Change from FY2015

       

$

%

 

$

%

 

$

%

Operation of the National Park System

2,275.8

2,515.1

2,327.8

+52.0

+2.2%

2,323.3

+47.5

+2.1%

2,369.6

+93.8

+4.1%

Resource Stewardship

317.2

351.2

321.5

+4.3

+1.3%

318.7

+1.5

+0.5%

328.2

+11.0

+3.5%

Visitor Services

243.0

276.9

251.4

+8.5

+3.5%

243.0

253.0

+10.0

+4.1%

Park Protection

348.8

359.0

352.0

+3.2

+0.9%

348.8

355.7

+6.9

+2.0%

Facility Operations & Maintenance

697.3

848.9

731.4

+34.0

+4.9%

727.3

+30.0

+4.3%

740.5

+43.2

+6.2%

Park Support

489.4

498.4

491.6

+2.1

+0.4%

505.5

+16.0

+3.3%

511.6

+22.2

+4.5%

External Administrative Costs

180.0

180.6

180.0

180.0

180.6

+0.6

+0.3%

National Recreation and Preservation

63.1

54.2

62.5

-0.7

-1.0%

63.1

a a

62.6

-0.5

-0.8%

Heritage Partnership Programs

20.3

10.0

19.7

-0.7

-3.2%

20.3

19.8

-0.5

-2.4%

Other

42.8

44.2

42.8

42.8

a a

42.8

a a

Historic Preservation Fund

56.4

89.9

60.9

+4.5

+8.0%

61.4

+5.0

+8.9%

65.4

+9.0

+16.0%

Construction

138.3

251.0

139.6

+1.2

+0.9%

192.9

+54.6

+39.5%

192.9

+54.6

+39.5%

Land and Water Conservation Fundb

-28.0

-30.0

-28.0

-28.0

-28.0

Land Acquisition and State Assistance

99.0

117.5

84.4

-14.6

-14.7%

106.3

+7.3

+7.4%

173.7

+74.7

+75.5%

Assistance to States

48.1

53.2

48.1

55.0

+6.9

+14.3%

110.0

+61.9

+128.6%

NPS Acquisition

50.8

64.3

36.3

-14.6

-28.7%

51.3

+0.4

+0.8%

63.7

+12.8

+25.2%

Centennial Challenge

10.0

50.0

20.0

+10.0

+100.0%

10.0

15.0

+5.0

+50.0%

Total Appropriations

2,614.6

3,047.7

2,667.1

+52.5

+2.0%

2,729.0

+114.4

+4.4%

2,851.2

+236.6

+9.1%

Sources: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for the National Park Service; U.S. Congress, House Appropriations Committee, Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2016, report to accompany H.R. 2822, 114th Cong., 1st sess., H.Rept. 114-170 (Washington, DC: GPO, 2015); U.S. Congress, Senate Appropriations Committee, Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2016, report to accompany S. 1645, 114th Cong., 1st sess., S.Rept. 114-70 (Washington, DC: GPO, 2015); P.L. 114-113, Division G, Explanatory Statement, Congressional Record, December 17, 2015, p. H10215.

a. The account would grow by $15,000, representing an increase of less than 0.1%. b. Figures reflect a rescission of contract authority.

Mandatory Appropriations in NPS's FY2017 Budget Request

Most of the National Park Service's (NPS's) funding comes from discretionary appropriations, which are controlled by annual appropriations acts. However, NPS also receives mandatory appropriations under laws enacted by the authorizing committees, which allow the agency to spend money without further action by Congress. NPS's mandatory appropriations include recreation fees, concession franchise fees, receipts from leasing, and direct cash donations, among others.

In its FY2017 budget request, NPS seeks changes in law that would significantly increase the mandatory spending available to the agency. In particular, NPS asks Congress to establish the following:

  • a mandatory Centennial Challenge matching-grant fund to spur partner donations for park improvement projects, with $100 million per year for three years;
  • a Second Century Infrastructure Investment fund to address deferred maintenance needs, with $300 million per year for three years;
  • an NPS Second Century Fund, which would provide authority for NPS to collect additional camping and lodging fees and raise the price of senior citizen passes to fund projects and programs in support of the NPS mission; and
  • permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with mandatory spending of $111.2 million for NPS in FY2017, along with a further $30 million for Urban Park Rehabilitation and Recovery Grants.

Along with existing programs, these new proposals bring NPS's mandatory request for FY2017 to $1.238 billion, more than twice the level of recent years. Much of the request would address the agency's growing backlog of deferred maintenance, estimated at $11.93 billion for FY2015. In its budget request, NPS states that the requested mandatory and discretionary funding, taken together, would allow the agency to "ensure that all of its highest priority non-transportation park assets are restored and maintained in good condition over ten years."

New mandatory spending would be subject to certain budget enforcement requirements, including the potential need to offset such spending. These requirements represent a hurdle for NPS's mandatory proposals. In the 114th Congress, H.R. 3556 and S. 2257 would implement many of NPS's requested changes. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on S. 2257 on December 8, 2015.

Source: NPS, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2017, at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY17-NPS-Greenbook-for-website.pdf. Trends in NPS Discretionary Appropriations The sections below examine trends over the past decade (FY2007-FY2016) in NPS discretionary appropriations. The agency's discretionary appropriations rose and fell over the decade. Overall, NPS appropriations grew from $2.300 billion in FY2007 to $2.851 billion in FY2016, an increase of 24.0% in actual (nominal) dollars and 7.5% in inflation-adjusted dollars (see Table 2 and Figure 1).4 A spike in appropriations occurred in FY2009, when
economic stimulus measures were enacted in P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Appropriations also rose in FY2013, reflecting supplemental funding for response to Hurricane Sandy, which heavily damaged parks on the East Coast. Figure 1. NPS Appropriations, FY2006-FY2015 ($ billions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President’s March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 2006 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, “Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,” at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. 3 Changes in appropriations over time may be measured in actual dollars (also known as “nominal” or “current” dollars) or in dollar amounts that are adjusted for inflation (known as “real,” “constant,” or “inflation-adjusted” dollars). The latter measure is useful for gauging the relative impact of appropriations over the long term. For example, although the $2.615 billion of discretionary appropriations for NPS in FY2015 was higher in nominal dollars than the $2.256 billion appropriated in FY2006, the FY2015 figure bought only the amount of goods and services that $2.251 billion would have purchased in FY2006. In this sense, the FY2015 appropriation represented a decline in NPS spending power compared with FY2006. Several different indexes measure inflation and allow for calculations of inflation-adjusted dollar amounts. This report uses the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, “Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables—1940–2019,” at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. For more information on measuring inflation, see CRS Report RL30344, Inflation: Causes, Costs, and Current Status, by Marc Labonte. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 3 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . (which heavily damaged parks on the East Coast), and again in FY2016, in connection with the NPS centennial anniversary. Certain other years saw decreases in NPS appropriations. Table 2. NPS Discretionary Appropriations, FY2006-FY2015 FY2007-FY2016 ($ billions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) % Change Since Previous Year Appropriation in Nominal $ Appropriation in Inflation-Adjusted 2006 $ FY2006 2.256 2.256 — — FY2007 2.300 2.239 +2.0% -0.7% FY2008 2.390 2.280 +3.9% +1.8% FY2009 3.276 3.088 +37.0% +35.4% FY2010 2.744 2.565 -16.2% -17.0% FY2011 2.611 2.394 -4.8% -6.7% FY2012 2.580 2.324 -1.2% -2.9% FY2013 2.775 2.458 +7.6% +5.7% FY2014 2.562 2.235 -7.7% -9.1% FY2015 2.615 2.251 +2.1% +0.7% +0.359 -0.005 +15.9% -0.2% Total change Nominal Inflation-Adjusted Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-52007 dollars)  

Appropriation in Nominal $

Appropriation in Inflation-Adjusted 2007 $

% Change Since Previous Year

     

Nominal

Inflation-Adjusted

FY2007

2.300

2.300

FY2008

2.390

2.342

+3.9%

+1.8%

FY2009

3.276

3.172

+37.0%

+35.5%

FY2010

2.744

2.634

-16.2%

-17.0%

FY2011

2.611

2.457

-4.8%

-6.7%

FY2012

2.580

2.383

-1.2%

-3.0%

FY2013

2.775

2.521

+7.6%

+5.8%

FY2014

2.562

2.288

-7.7%

-9.2%

FY2015

2.615

2.304

+2.1%

+0.7%

FY2016

2.851

2.473

+9.1%

+7.4%

Total Change

+0.551

+0.173

+24.0%

+7.5%

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5
(the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 20062007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,”1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. budget/Historicals. For most of the decade, NPS appropriations were spread across five accounts that cover basic park operations (Operation of the National Park System, or ONPS, account); construction and repair of infrastructure (Construction account); assistance to state, local, tribal, and private land managers (National Recreation and Preservation account); grants to states and localities for historic preservation (Historic Preservation Fund); and land acquisition by both NPS and the states (Land Acquisition and State Assistance account).45 By far the largest share of NPS’s 's discretionary appropriations—87.0% in FY201583.1% in FY2016—went to the ONPS account, which covers basic park operations (see Table 1 and Figure 2).

Figure 1. NPS Appropriations, FY2007-FY2016

($ billions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars)

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 2007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables—1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals.

Figure 2. NPS's FY2016 Discretionary Appropriations by Account

Source: P.L. 114-113, Division G, Explanatory Statement, Congressional Record, December 17, 2015, p. H10215.

Notes: ONPS = Operation of the National Park Service; NR&P = National Recreation and Preservation; HPF = Historic Preservation Fund; LASA = Land Acquisition and State Assistance. These data exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. The figure for the total appropriation reflects a rescission of $28 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) contract authority, which is not shown in the chart.

Table 3. NPS Appropriations by Account, FY2007-FY2016

($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars)

 

ONPS

Construction

NR&P

HPF

LASA

CC

Totala

FY2007

1,848.421

297.482

59.295

60.737

64.024

2,299.959

FY2008 Inflation-Adjusted 1,970.5811,930.707 218.522214.079 67.41366.042 70.385 68.954 68.977 67.574 24.61024.110 2,390.4882,341.880 FY2009 Inflation-Adjusted 2,277.7552,205.778 821.521795.561 58.38456.539 83.984 81.330 64.190 62.162

3,275.8343,172.318 FY2010 Inflation-Adjusted 2,261.5592,171.204 232.969223.639 68.43665.695 79.500 76.316 126.266 121.209 5.000b4.800 2,743.7302,633.850 FY2011 Inflation-Adjusted 2,250.0502,118.775 184.646173.721 57.24553.858 54.391 51.173 94.810 89.200

2,611.1422,456.650 FY2012Inflation-Adjusted 2,236.5682,069.851 155.366143.552 59.87955.326 55.91051.658 101.89794.149

2,579.6202,383.460 FY2013Inflation-Adjusted 2,097.2611,907.747 453.885412.290 56.74751.547 100.48691.277 96.56787.717

2,774.9462,520.643 FY2014Inflation-Adjusted 2,236.7532,004.137 137.461122.768 60.79554.297 56.41050.380 98.10087.614

2,561.5192,287.720 FY2015Inflation-Adjusted 2,275.7732,011.921 138.339121.899 63.11755.616 56.41049.707 98.96087.200 10.0008.812 2,614.5992,303.892 FY2016Inflation-Adjusted 2,369.5962,062.111 192.937167.360 62.63254.329 65.41056.739 173.670150.647 15.00013.011 2,851.2452,473.258

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: ONPS = Operation of the National Park System account; NR&P = National Recreation and Preservation account; HPF = Historic Preservation Fund account; LASA = Land Acquisition and State Assistance account; CC = Centennial Challenge account.

These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They
). Also, in general, this account grew to represent a larger share of total NPS appropriations over the course of the decade, while the share represented by most of the other accounts declined (Table 3).5 4 The Land Acquisition and State Assistance account constitutes NPS’s portion of appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is the principal source of funding used by four federal land management agencies—NPS, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service— for land acquisition for outdoor recreation. In addition, the LWCF provides grants to states for outdoor recreation purposes. These grants are administered through NPS. For more information on the LWCF, see CRS Report RL33531, Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent. 5 See section on “Operation of the National Park System” for further discussion. Among the other four accounts, only the Land Acquisition and State Assistance account had a higher share of total appropriations in FY2015 than in FY2006. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 4 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Figure 2. NPS’s FY2015 Discretionary Appropriations by Account Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. These data exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. The figure for the total appropriation reflects a rescission of $28 million in LWCF contract authority, which is not shown in the chart. Notes: ONPS = Operation of the National Park Service; NR&P = National Recreation and Preservation; HPF = Historic Preservation Fund; LASA = Land Acquisition and State Assistance. In addition to these five accounts, during three years of the past decade (FY2008, FY2010, and FY2015), Congress appropriated funds for a sixth account, the Centennial Challenge account.6 The account consists of a matching-grant program to spur partner donations for park improvements in anticipation of the National Park System’s 100th anniversary in 2016. The program received $24.6 million in FY2008, $5.0 million in FY2010 (as well as $10.0 million in carryover balances from NPS’s recreational fee program), and $10.0 million in FY2015. For FY2016, NPS has requested $50.0 million in discretionary appropriations for the Centennial Challenge account. In addition to discretionary funding, both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations sought additional mandatory appropriations of up to $100 million annually for this account. However, Congress has not established the mandatory fund. The Administration has again requested mandatory funding for FY2016 (see text box above). Several additional accounts existed for a limited time during the past decade and were either defunded or folded into other accounts. In the discussions below, calculations are adjusted to reflect the separation or merger of accounts.7 Below the account level, funding for some individual programs, projects, or activities also shifted between accounts during the 10-year period. This report may not reflect some of the smaller such realignments that occurred throughout the decade.8 6 The account was titled “Centennial Challenge” in FY2015 and FY2008, but it was called “Park Partnership Project Grants” in FY2010. 7 See the discussions below for specific examples. 8 For example, in FY2007, funding for three museums moved from the National Recreation and Preservation account to the ONPS account, while funding for the Harpers Ferry Center moved from the ONPS account to the Construction account. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 5 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Table 3. NPS Appropriations by Account, FY2006-FY2015 ($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) ONPS Construction NR&P HPF LASA Totala FY2006 1,798.628 313.858 59.082 67.246 46.954 2,255.768 FY2007 Inflation-adjusted 1,848.421 1,799.748 297.482 289.649 59.295 57.734 60.737 59.138 64.024 62.338 2,299.959 2,239.396 FY2008 Inflation-adjusted 1,970.581 1,879.867 218.522 208.463 67.413 64.310 70.385 67.145 68.977 65.802 2,390.488b 2,280.444 FY2009 Inflation-adjusted 2,277.755 2,147.695 821.521 774.612 58.384 55.050 83.984 79.189 64.190 60.525 3,275.834 3,088.784 FY2010 Inflation-adjusted 2,261.559 2,114.032 232.969 217.772 68.436 63.972 79.500 74.314 126.266 118.029 2,743.730c 2,564.750 FY2011 Inflation-adjusted 2,250.050 2,062.983 184.646 169.295 57.245 52.485 54.391 49.869 94.810 86.928 2,611.142 2,394.055 FY2012 Inflation-adjusted 2,236.568 2,015.348 155.366 139.999 59.879 53.956 55.910 50.380 101.897 91.818 2,579.620 2,324.468 FY2013d Inflation-adjusted 2,097.261 1,857.512 453.885 401.999 56.747 50.260 100.486 88.999 96.567 85.528 2,774.946 2,457.727 FY2014 Inflation-adjusted 2,236.753 1,951.364 137.461 119.922 60.795 53.038 56.410 49.213 98.100 85.583 2,561.519 2,234.693 FY2015 Inflation-adjusted 2,275.773 1,958.943 138.339 119.080 63.117 54.330 56.410 48.557 98.960 85.183 2,614.599e 2,250.598 Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Notes: ONPS = Operation of the National Park System account; NR&P = National Recreation and Preservation account; HPF = Historic Preservation Fund account; LASA = Land Acquisition and State Assistance account. These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals Sandy. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President’ President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 20062007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,”1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. a. budget/Historicals. c11173008 a. Totals reflect annual rescissions for LWCF contract authority of $30.0 million for FY2005-FY2013 and $28.0 million for FY2014-FY2016. Because these rescissions are not included in the amounts for individual accounts, the figures for the individual accounts do not add up to the totals shown. b. The total for FY2008 includes an appropriation of $24.61 million for the Centennial Challenge fund, which is not otherwise reflected in this table. c. The total for FY2010 includes an appropriation of $5.0 million for Park Partnership Project Grants (i.e., Centennial Challenge fund), which is not otherwise reflected in this table. d. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President’s March 1, 2013, budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. They also reflect the supplemental appropriation in P.L. 113-2 for Hurricane Sandy response and recovery. The supplemental added $329.815 million to the Construction account and $47.489 million to the Historic Preservation account, after adjusting for sequestration. e. The total for FY2015 includes an appropriation of $10.0 million for the Centennial Challenge fund, which is not otherwise reflected in this table. Congressional Research Service 6 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Operation of the National Park System Account Appropriations for the largest NPS account, entitled Operation of the National Park System (ONPS), increased over the decade, rising from $1.799 billion in FY2006 to $2.275 billion in FY2015 (see Table 3 and Figure 3). When adjusted for inflation, this represents a growth of 8.9%. The funding supports the activities, programs, and services that form the day-to-day operations of the National Park System. Funding for these park operations grew not only in dollar amount but also as a percentage of total NPS appropriations, increasing from 79.7% of total funding in FY2006 to 87.0% in FY2015. Figure 3. Appropriations for NPS’s Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) Account, FY2006-FY2015 ($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 b. For FY2010, the Centennial Challenge account was titled Park Partnership Project Grants. In addition to these five accounts, during four years of the past decade (FY2008, FY2010, FY2015, and FY2016), Congress appropriated funds for a sixth account, the Centennial Challenge account.6 The account consists of a matching-grant program to spur partner donations for park improvements related to the National Park System's 100th anniversary in 2016. The program received $24.6 million in FY2008, $5.0 million in FY2010 (as well as $10.0 million in carryover balances from NPS's recreational fee program), $10.0 million in FY2015, and $15.0 million in FY2016. In addition to discretionary funding, both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations sought additional mandatory appropriations of up to $100 million annually for the Centennial Challenge account, but Congress has not established the mandatory fund. In the 114th Congress, H.R. 3556 and S. 2257 would provide mandatory appropriations for the Centennial Challenge fund (see text box above). This report reflects discretionary appropriations for the Centennial Challenge account in Table 3, but because the appropriations have occurred only in certain years, trends over time for this account are not discussed in the following sections.

Several additional accounts existed for a limited time during the past decade and were either defunded or folded into other accounts. In the discussions below, calculations are adjusted to reflect the separation or merger of accounts.7 Below the account level, funding for some individual programs, projects, or activities also shifted between accounts during the 10-year period. This report may not reflect some of the smaller such realignments that occurred throughout the decade.8

Operation of the National Park System Account Appropriations for the largest NPS account, entitled Operation of the National Park System (ONPS), increased over the decade, rising from $1.848 billion in FY2007 to $2.370 billion in FY2016 (see Table 3 and Figure 3). When adjusted for inflation, this represents a growth of 11.6%. The funding supports the activities, programs, and services that form the day-to-day operations of the National Park System. Funding for these park operations grew not only in dollar amount but also as a percentage of total NPS appropriations, increasing from 80.4% of total funding in FY2007 to 83.1% in FY2016. The majority of ONPS funds are provided directly to managers of individual park units. Activities covered under the account include visitor services, resource stewardship, park protection (including the U.S. Park Police),9 facility operations and maintenance, and park support,10 as well as "external administrative costs" for services provided by outside entities.11 Among these activities, the two showing the greatest percentage growth over the decade were park support, which grew by 42.1% in inflation-adjusted dollars, and external administrative costs, which grew by 16.0% in inflation-adjusted dollars but remained the smallest activity in terms of funding.12

Figure 3. Appropriations for NPS's Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) Account, FY2007-FY2016

($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars)

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5
(the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 20062007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,”1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. For budget/Historicals. For FY2006-FY2007, the U.S. Park Police account is included in the ONPS totals to facilitate comparison with subsequent years, in which the Park Police appropriation was merged into the ONPS appropriation. The majority of ONPS funds are provided directly to managers of individual park units. Activities covered under the account include visitor services, resource stewardship, park protection (including the U.S. Park Police),9 facility operations and maintenance, and park support,10 as well 9 Prior to FY2008, the U.S. Park Police—a uniformed law enforcement entity providing protection to park sites in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, DC—was funded under a separate U.S. Park Police account. In this report, ONPS appropriations totals for FY2006 and FY2007 include the Park Police account to (continued...) c11173008 Congressional Research Service 7 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . as “external administrative costs” for services provided by outside entities.11 Among these activities, the two showing the greatest percentage growth over the decade were park support, which grew by 41.6% in inflation-adjusted dollars, and external administrative costs, which grew by 20.5% in inflation-adjusted dollars but remained the smallest activity in terms of funding.12 Construction Account subsequent years, in which the Park Police appropriation was merged into the ONPS appropriation. Construction Account The second-largest NPS account, titled Construction, funds new construction projects as well as repairs and improvements to existing facilities, among other activities. Appropriations for the account at the beginning of the decade ($313.9297.5 million in FY2006) were considerably FY2007) were higher than those at the end of the decade ($138.3192.9 million in FY2015FY2016; see Figure 4 and Table 3). Adjusting dollar amounts for inflation, this representsconstitutes a decline of 62.143.7%. Construction appropriations accordingly represent a smaller portion of total NPS appropriations in FY2015 (5.3FY2016 (6.8%) than they did in FY2006 (13FY2007 (12.9%). However, this overall decline was tempered by two spikes in funding for the Construction account—one in FY2009, resulting from emergency appropriations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; P.L. 111-5)P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the other in FY2013, resulting from the Hurricane Sandy supplemental appropriation in P.L. 113-2.

Figure 4. Appropriations for NPS's Construction Account, FY2007-FY2016

($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars)

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities, and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 2007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables—1940–2019," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals.

Among the specific activities funded in the Construction account, the largest is line-item construction and maintenance, which covers construction of new facilities and rehabilitation and replacement of existing facilities. Projects are prioritized based on their contribution to NPS mission factors and cost-benefit considerations.13 Funding for the line-item activity mainly declined over the decade, although it rose in FY2016. As discussed above, the overall decline was also mitigated by P.L. 111-5 stimulus funds in FY2009 and by the Hurricane Sandy supplemental in FY2013. (The portion of funding directed to the line-item subactivity in particular is not readily available for either of these appropriations.) Other activities funded in the Construction account include emergency and unscheduled construction, repair and replacement of employee housing, dam safety, equipment replacement, construction planning and program management, development of general management plans for park units, and preparation of special studies of areas (for instance, to assess their potential for inclusion in the National Park System).

NPS Funding for Deferred Maintenance

Despite NPS's efforts to address deferred maintenance through improved inventory and asset management, the agency's maintenance backlog has continued to build over the past decade from an estimated mid-range figure of $9.61 billion in FY2007 to an estimate of $11.93 billion for FY2015 (in nominal dollars). The bulk of NPS deferred maintenance—52% in FY2015—is in transportation assets such as roads, bridges, and tunnels.

Although NPS's discretionary appropriations provide a significant portion of the agency's funding to address deferred maintenance, such funding also comes from other sources. For example, road and bridge improvements are largely funded by allocations from the Department of Transportation. Funding to address deferred maintenance may also come through mandatory appropriations, such as fee collections.

Within NPS's discretionary appropriations, two subaccounts provide the primary funding to address deferred maintenance: the line-item construction and maintenance activity within the Construction account and the facility operation and maintenance activity within the Operation of the National Park Service account. Appropriations for line-item construction declined over the decade (-44.2% in inflation-adjusted dollars), whereas facility operation and maintenance appropriations increased (+6.4% in inflation-adjusted dollars).

For more information on NPS deferred maintenance, see National Park Service, "Planning, Design, and Construction Management: NPS Deferred Maintenance Reports," at http://www.nps.gov/subjects/plandesignconstruct/defermain.htm; NPS, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2017, "Federal Lands Transportation Program," p. Const-79, at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY17-NPS-Greenbook-for-website.pdf; and
P.L. 113-2. Among the specific activities funded in the Construction account, the largest is “line-item construction and maintenance,” which covers construction of new facilities and rehabilitation and replacement of existing facilities. Projects are prioritized based on their contribution to NPS “mission factors” and cost-benefit considerations.13 Funding for the line-item activity mainly declined over the decade—although, as discussed above, this decline was mitigated by ARRA stimulus funds in FY2009 and by the Hurricane Sandy supplemental in FY2013. (The portion of funding directed to the “line-item” subactivity in particular is not readily available for either of these appropriations.) Other activities funded in the Construction account include emergency and unscheduled construction, repair and replacement of employee housing, dam safety, equipment replacement, construction planning and program management, development of general management plans for park units, and preparation of special studies of areas (for instance, to assess their potential for inclusion in the National Park System). (...continued) provide consistency with subsequent years in which Park Police funding was merged into the ONPS account. 10 The “park support” activity includes funding for administering, managing, and supporting the operations of park units. 11 These “external administrative costs” include employee compensation payments, unemployment compensation payments, centralized information technology costs, telecommunications, postage, space rental from the General Services Administration, and departmental program charges. 12 These calculations use funding amounts from annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. It is difficult to calculate exact percentage growth or decline for three of the activities—resource stewardship, visitor services, and park protection (including the U.S. Park Police)—because an account realignment in FY2010 significantly reorganized programs within these areas. However, these three activities combined show a slight growth (+0.4% in inflation-adjusted dollars) between FY2006 and FY2015. Funding for facility operations and maintenance also grew slightly (+1.2% in inflation-adjusted dollars) in this period. 13 A fuller description of NPS’s two-tier priority system is in the agency’s FY2016 budget justification, p. Const-8, at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY-2016-Greenbook.pdf. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 8 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Figure 4. Appropriations for NPS’s Construction Account, FY2006-FY2015 ($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for the National Park Service. Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities, and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President’s March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 2006 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, “Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,” at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. NPS Funding for Deferred Maintenance Despite NPS’s efforts to address deferred maintenance through improved inventory and asset management, the agency’s maintenance backlog has continued to build over the past decade from an estimated mid-range figure of $9.11 billion in FY2006 to an estimated mid-range figure of $11.50 billion for FY2014 (in nominal dollars; FY2104 is the most recent year available). The bulk of NPS deferred maintenance—59% in FY2014—is in the category of roads, bridges, and trails. Although NPS’s discretionary appropriations provide a significant portion of the agency’s funding to address deferred maintenance, such funding also comes from other sources. For example, road and bridge improvements are largely funded by allocations from the Department of Transportation. Funding to address deferred maintenance may also come through mandatory appropriations, such as fee collections. Within NPS’s discretionary appropriations, two subaccounts provide the primary funding to address deferred maintenance: the “line-item construction and maintenance” activity within the Construction account and the “facility operation and maintenance” activity within the Operation of the National Park Service account. Appropriations for line-item construction declined considerably over the decade (-75.3% in inflation-adjusted dollars), while facility operation and maintenance appropriations grew slightly (+1.2% in inflation-adjusted dollars). For more information on NPS deferred maintenance, see CRS Report R43997, Deferred Maintenance of Federal Land Management Agencies: FY2005-FY2014 Estimates, by [author name scrubbed]. , by Carol Hardy Vincent. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 9 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . National Recreation and Preservation Account The National Recreation and Preservation (NR&P) account funds NPS programs that primarily assist state, local, tribal, and private land managers with outdoor recreation planning, natural and cultural resource preservation, environmental compliance, and other activities outside the National Park System. Appropriations for the account fluctuated over the decade and rose overall in nominal dollars, from $59.13 million in FY2006 to $63.1FY2007 to $62.6 million in FY2015.14FY2016.14 Adjusted for inflation, however, the appropriation declined by 8.04% (Figure 5 and Table 3). The portion of total NPS funding used for the NR&P account also declined—from 2.6% in FY2006FY2007 to 2.4% in FY2015. Figure 5. Appropriations for NPS’s National Recreation and Preservation (NR&P) Account, FY2006-FY2015 ($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-52% in FY2016.

A variety of natural, cultural, and recreational assistance programs are funded in the NR&P account. The Heritage Partnership Program, which provides NPS assistance to national heritage areas, is the largest single program contained in the account.15 Its appropriations grew over the decade,16 despite Administration budget requests in recent years to reduce the heritage area appropriation by roughly half. The number of heritage areas also increased during the decade from 36 to 49. In addition, the NR&P account has included such programs as the American Battlefield Protection Program; the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program; the National Natural Landmarks and National Historic Landmarks Programs; the Natural Register of Historic Places; and the Preserve America Program. The account further covers international park affairs, environmental and compliance review, and grants administration.

Figure 5. Appropriations for NPS's National Recreation and Preservation (NR&P) Account, FY2007-FY2016

($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars)

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5
(the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 20062007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,”1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. For FY2006 and Historicals. For FY2007, appropriations for the Preserve America program are included in the NR&P totals, because this program was later funded in the NR&P account. A variety of natural, cultural, and recreational assistance programs are funded in the NR&P account. The Heritage Partnership Program, which provides NPS assistance to national heritage areas, is the largest single program contained in the account.15 Its appropriations grew over the 14 To facilitate multi-year comparisons, the FY2006 and FY2007 totals for the NR&P account include appropriations for the Preserve America program, which was shifted to this account beginning in FY2008. 15 National heritage areas are established by Congress but are not federally managed, and they are not part of the (continued...) c11173008 Congressional Research Service 10 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . decade,16 despite Administration budget requests in recent years to reduce the heritage area appropriation by roughly half. The number of heritage areas also increased during the decade from 26 to 49. The NR&P account has also included such programs as the American Battlefield Protection Program; the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program; the National Natural Landmarks and National Historic Landmarks Programs; the Natural Register of Historic Places; and the Preserve America Program. The account further covers international park affairs, environmental and compliance review, and grants administration. Historic Preservation Fund The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. §470). In accordance with the purposes of the act, the fund provides grants-inaid to state and local governments and private entities for conserving cultural and historical assets and sites. Its grants are normally awarded on a 60% federal/40% state matching share basis. Appropriations for the HPF account varied during the decade and declined overall—from $67.2 million in FY200617 to $56.4 million in FY2015, a drop of 27.8% in inflation-adjusted dollars (see Figure 6 and Table 3). The account represented 3.0% of the total NPS appropriation in FY2006 and 2.2% in FY2015. HPF appropriations were highest in FY2013, as a result of the NR&P account. Historic Preservation Fund

The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), established in 1976,17 is administered by NPS through appropriations to the agency's HPF account. In accordance with the purposes of the National Historic Preservation Act (P.L. 89-665; 54 U.S.C. §§300101 et seq.), the fund provides grants-in-aid to state and local governments and private entities for conserving cultural and historical assets and sites. Its grants are normally awarded on a 60% federal/40% state matching share basis. The HPF has been funded by revenues from oil and gas activities on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. This funding authorization expired on September 30, 2015, although a balance of more than $3 billion remains in the fund and is available for appropriation.18

Appropriations for the HPF account varied during the decade and grew overall in nominal dollars—from $60.7 million in FY200719 to $65.4 million in FY2016. Adjusted for inflation, however, the appropriation declined by 6.6% (see Figure 6 and Table 3). The account represented 2.6% of the total NPS appropriation in FY2007 and 2.3% in FY2016. HPF appropriations were highest in FY2013, as a result of the
supplemental appropriation in response to Hurricane Sandy (P.L. 113-2), which added $47.5 million (after sequestration) to the account’s regular FY2013 appropriation of $53.0 million. The largest activity in the account is funding for state historic preservation offices, which rose from $35.7 million in FY2006 to $46.9 million in FY2015. Adjusted for inflation, this represents a gain of 13.1%. Tribal grants also rose from $3.9 million to $9.0 million, a growth of 96.2% after adjusting for inflation. Although these activities grew, other changes contributed to declines in HPF funding during the decade. The Save America’s Treasures program, which helped to restore nationally significant historic structures and artifacts, was funded in varying amounts from FY2006 through FY2010, but appropriations for this program were eliminated in FY2011, contributing to a funding decline for the overall HPF account (Figure 6).18 The account also contained appropriations for grants to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) until FY2007,19 after which these institutions were encouraged to seek restoration grants through the Save America’s Treasures program.20 For FY2016, NPS has requested that grants to HBCUs again be funded in the NR&P account.21 (...continued) National Park System. For more on national heritage areas, see CRS Report RL33462, Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent and Laura B. Comay. 16 In inflation-adjusted dollars, the FY2015 appropriation for heritage area partnerships was 31.5% higher than the FY2006 appropriation. 17 The amount shown for FY2006 does not include appropriations for the Preserve America program. See footnote 14. 18 Although the program has not been funded in recent years, it continues to administer existing grants. 19 See NPS, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2008, p. HPF-11, http://home.nps.gov/ applications/budgetweb/downloads/fy_2008_greenbook.pdf. As of FY2008, the HBCU program also had $4.3 million in unobligated funding to continue to award to HBCUs, although new funds were not being appropriated. 20 The HPF account also included appropriations for the Preserve America matching-grant program in FY2006 and FY2007, but in this report, its appropriations are counted in the NR&P account, where the program was later funded. Figure 6 thus does not reflect any funding for this program. The program supported historic preservation efforts through heritage tourism, education, and historic preservation planning. It received funding only in FY2006-FY2008 and FY2010 but continues to administer existing grants. See http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/hpg/PreserveAmerica/ (continued...) c11173008 Congressional Research Service 11 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Figure 6. Appropriations for NPS’s Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Account, FY2006-FY2015 ($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars) Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Note: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President’s March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 2006 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, “Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,” at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. The amounts for FY2006 and FY2007 do not include appropriations for the Preserve America program. These appropriations are instead counted with the NR&P account to facilitate comparisons with later years when the program was funded through that account. Land Acquisition and State Assistance The Land Acquisition and State Assistance (LASA) account represents NPS’s share of appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF; 16 U.S.C. §§460l-4 et seq.). The LWCF is the primary funding source for the four major federal land management agencies— NPS, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service—to acquire lands.22 In addition, the LWCF supports grants to states (and, through them, to localities) for outdoor recreation purposes, specifically to develop plans for outdoor recreation needs and to (...continued) index.htm. 21 The agency has requested $2.5 million for grants to HBCUs for preservation of sites and stories relating to civil rights. 22 For more information on the LWCF, see CRS Report RL33531, Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent. In addition to the state grants and federal land acquisition grants discussed here, in recent years, a portion of the LWCF has also been used to fund other programs. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 12 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . acquire and develop park areas. These 50/50 matching grants, administered by NPS, are allocated to states by formula. Overall, the LWCF is authorized at $900 million annually, but at no point in the past decade was this “full funding” appropriated. Appropriations for the LASA account—the NPS portion of the LWCF—varied over the course of 's regular FY2013 appropriation of $53.0 million.

Figure 6. Appropriations for NPS's Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Account,FY2007-FY2016

($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars)

Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS.

Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 2007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables—1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals.

The amount for FY2007 does not include appropriations for the Preserve America program. These appropriations are instead counted with the NR&P account to facilitate comparisons with later years when the program was funded through that account.

The largest activity in the account is funding for state historic preservation offices, which rose from $37.2 million in FY2007 to $46.9 million in FY2016. Adjusted for inflation, this represents a gain of 9.4%. Tribal grants also rose from $5.4 million to $10.0 million, a growth of 59.0% after adjusting for inflation. Other program funding declined or ended during the decade. For example, the Save America's Treasures program, which helped to restore nationally significant historic structures and artifacts, was funded in varying amounts from FY2006 through FY2010, but its appropriations were eliminated in FY2011, contributing to a funding decline in that year for the overall HPF account (Figure 6).20 The account also contained appropriations for grants to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) until FY2007,21 after which these institutions were encouraged to seek restoration grants through the Save America's Treasures program.22 For FY2017, NPS requested that grants to HBCUs again be funded from the NR&P account.23 Land Acquisition and State Assistance

The Land Acquisition and State Assistance (LASA) account represents NPS's share of appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF; 54 U.S.C. §§200301 et seq.). The LWCF is the primary funding source for the four major federal land management agencies—NPS, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service—to acquire lands.24 In addition, the LWCF supports grants to states (and, through states, to localities) for outdoor recreation purposes, specifically to develop plans for outdoor recreation needs and to acquire and develop park areas. These 50/50 matching grants, administered by NPS, are generally allocated to states by formula. In recent years, a portion of the funding ($12.0 million for FY2016, of a total of $110.0 million for state assistance) also has been appropriated for a nationally competitive grant program. Overall, the LWCF is authorized at $900 million annually, but at no point in the past decade was this "full funding" appropriated.

Appropriations for the LASA account—comprising the NPS and state assistance portions of the LWCF—varied over the course of
the decade and rose overall (see Figure 7 and Table 3). The appropriation rose from $47.0 64.0 million in FY2006 to $99.0FY2007 to $173.7 million in FY2015FY2016. Adjusted for inflation, this is a growth of 81.4%. The LASA account represented 2.1135.3%. The growth is partly attributable to a significant increase in appropriations for state land acquisition in FY2016 as compared with earlier years. Altogether, the LASA account represented 2.8% of the total NPS appropriation in FY2006 and 3.8% in FY2015. FY2007 and 6.1% in FY2016. Both parts of the account—the funding for NPS land acquisition and that for assistance to states—fluctuated during the decade but grew overall. State assistance was less than $30 million annually for FY2006-FY2009 and thenFY2007-FY2009, rose to roughly $40 million to -$50 million annually for FY2010-FY2015 FY2010-FY2015, and more than doubled to $110 million for FY2016. For land acquisition by NPS, annual funding hoveredranged between $30 million and $60 $65 million, except in FY2006, when funding was $17 million,23 and in FY2010, when it rose to $86 million.

Figure 7. Appropriations for NPS's Land Acquisition and State Assistance (LASA) Account, FY2006-FY2015 FY2007-FY2016 ($ millions, in nominal and inflation-adjusted 20062007 dollars) Source: Annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. Notes: These figures exclude permanent budget authorities and generally do not reflect scorekeeping adjustments. They generally reflect rescissions and supplemental appropriations to date, including FY2009 funds from P.L. 111-5 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and FY2013 funds from P.L. 113-2 in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, the FY2006 figure does not reflect any supplementals. Figures for FY2013 reflect the President's March 2013 budget sequestration and an across-the-board rescission of 0.2%. Adjustments for inflation (shown in 20062007 dollars) use the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables— 1940–2019,”1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. NPS Appropriations in Context budget/Historicals. 23 c11173008 This figure reflects two rescissions of prior-year balances, one of $9.8 million and another of $17.0 million. Congressional Research Service 13 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . NPS Appropriations in Context Changes in NPS appropriations can be considered in the context of the National Park System’s 's size, the number of visits to the parks, and NPS staffing levels, among other factors. Over the past decade, the size of the National Park System has remained relatively stable, growing by 0.23%. Visitation peaked in 20092014 and 20142015, and it was generally higher in the second part of the decade than the first. (However, in 2013 visitor numbers dropped, due partly to park closures after Hurricane Sandy and to and the October 2013 government shutdown.) Staffing levels fluctuated around 20,000 during the past 10 years. Size of the National Park System The size of the National Park System rose slightly over the decade, from 84.3 million acres to 84.5 6 million acres, a growth of 0.23%. (See Figure 8 and Table 4.) The percentage of National Park System lands owned by the federal government24government25 grew from 93.5% in FY2006FY2007 to 95.2% in FY2015 (through May3% in FY2016 (as of December 31, 2015). The remainder—the nonfederal land in the system—includes lands within park boundaries that are owned by state or local governments and by private landowners. Even when the overall size of the system remains stable, the federal share of park lands may increase if, for example, the federal government purchases “inholdings”"inholdings" within parks from nonfederal owners.

Figure 8. Size of the National Park System, FY2006-FY2015 FY2007-FY2016 (in millions of acres) , through December 31, 2015) Source: NPS Land Resources Division, annual summaries of acreage, available on NPS Stats Web web page at https:// irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/National. Notes: Reports/National. Notes: “Federal Land category includes “NPS fee acres,” “NPS Fee Acres, Less Than Fee Acres,,” and Other Federal Fee Acres.” “ Acres. Nonfederal Land category includes Other Public Acres and “Private Acres.” 24 Almost all of the system’s federally owned lands are directly administered by NPS. However, the federally owned portion of the system also includes some NPS “less than fee” acres (e.g., conservation easements or rights-of-way) and some lands managed by other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, the Forest Service, or the Fish and Wildlife Service. Taken together, these lands amount to about 1% of the federally owned portion of the system. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 14 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Private Acres. Table 4. Size of the National Park System, FY2006-FY2015 (in millions of acres) Federal Land Nonfederal Land Total Acreage FY2006 78.806 5.505 84.312 FY2007 78.846 5.477 84.322 FY2008 78.855 5.476 84.331 FY2009 80.438 3.938 84.375 FY2010 80.518 3.863 84.381 FY2011 80.485 3.900 84.385 FY2012 80.384 4.039 84.423 FY2013 80.473 4.007 84.479 FY2014 80.466 4.012 84.478 FY2015 (through May) 80.477 4.021 84.499 Source: FY2007-FY2016

(in millions of acres, through December 31, 2015)

 

Federal Land

Nonfederal Land

Total Acreage

FY2007

78.846

5.477

84.322

FY2008

78.855

5.476

84.331

FY2009

80.438

3.938

84.375

FY2010

80.518

3.863

84.381

FY2011

80.485

3.900

84.385

FY2012

80.384

4.039

84.423

FY2013

80.473

4.007

84.479

FY2014

80.466

4.012

84.478

FY2015

80.598

4.021

84.616

FY2016 (through Dec. 2015)

80.603

4.014

84.618

Source:
NPS, Land Resources Division, annual summaries of acreage, available on NPS Stats web page at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/National. Notes: “National. Notes: Federal Land category includes “NPS fee acres,” “NPS Fee Acres, Less Than Fee Acres,,” and Other Federal Fee Acres.” “ Acres. Nonfederal Land category includes Other Public Acres and Private Acres.” . Although the overall size of the National Park System did not change significantly, 2220 new units were added to the system in the FY2006-FY2015 period.25FY2007-FY2016 period (to date).26 Other acreage changes resulted from boundary adjustments in existing parks. Visits to the National Parks Numbers of recreational visits to the National Park System varied over the past 10 years but were generally higher toward the end of the decade. The highest numbers of visits were in 2009 (285.6 2014 (292.8 million visits) and 2014 (292.82015 (307.2 million visits; see Figure 9 and Table 5). Visits at the end of the decade were 7.411.5% higher than at the beginning.2627 However, visitor numbers dipped in 2013, due in part to Hurricane Sandy, which forced closures at East Coast park units,2728 and to the government shutdown of October 2013.28 25 These units are the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site (DC), African Burial Ground National Monument (NY), Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (CO), Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (CA), River Raisin National Battlefield Park (MI), President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site (AR), Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (DC), Fort Monroe National Monument (VA), Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (NJ), Cesar E. Chavez National Monument (CA), Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park (MD), First State National Historical Park (DE), Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (OH), Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (NV), World War I Memorial (DC), Valles Caldera National Preserve (NM), Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (MA and RI), Manhattan Project National Historical Park (TN, NM, and WA), Harriet Tubman National Historical Park (NY), Coltsville National Historical Park (CT), Pullman National Monument (IL), and Honouliuli National Monument (HI). A list of recent additions to the National Park System can be found at NPS, Recent Changes in the National Park System, http://www.nps.gov/news/ loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=296369. 26 This compares the 2014 visitor total with that for 2006, since 2014 is the most recent year with complete data. 27 The storm, which struck the East Coast in October 2012, closed nearly 70 park units, in some cases for months. These included heavily visited sites such as the Statue of Liberty, which remained closed through July 2013. 28 In October 2013, the month of the government shutdown, visitation dropped by 6.4 million compared to the previous (continued...) c11173008 Congressional Research Service 15 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Figure 9. Annual Recreational Visits to the National Park System, 2006-2015 (total visits in millions, by calendar year) Source: National Park Service, NPS Stats, https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/National. Table 5. Annual Recreational Visits to the National Park System, 2006-2015 (total visits by calendar year) Year Number of Visits Year Number of Visits 2006 272,623,980 2011 278,939,216 2007 275,581,547 2012 282,765,682 2008 274,852,949 2013 273,630,895 2009 285,579,941 2014 292,800,082 2010 281,303,769 2015 (thr. Apr.) 66,676,150 Source: NPS, NPS Stats, at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/National. The figure for 2015 shows visits through April 2015. For comparison with the previous year, visits through April 2014 were slightly lower at 65,252,821. National Park Service Staffing NPS’s full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing level during the past decade ranged from a low of 19,832 in FY2007 to a high of 22,211 in FY2010 (Figure 10 and Table 6). Measured across the decade, staff size grew from 20,056 in FY2006 to an estimated 21,164 in FY2015, an increase of 5.5%. (...continued) October. The total decrease for 2013 compared to 2012 was 9.1 million. See NPS, 2013 National Park Visitor Spending Effects: Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation, Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2014/824, July 2014, pp. 2-3, http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/ NPSVSE2013_final_nrss.pdf. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 16 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . Figure 10. NPS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff, FY2006-FY2015 Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, “Department of the Interior FTE History: Full-Time Equivalent Staff Year (FTE) Usage of Bureaus and Offices,” March 5, 2014, http://www.doi.gov/budget/upload/FTE_History_Table.pdf. Table 6. NPS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff, FY2006-FY2015 Year Number of FTEs Year Number of FTEs FY2006 20,056 FY2011 22,051 FY2007 19,832 FY2012 21,830 FY2008 20,301 FY2013 20,720 FY2009 20,991 FY2014 19,894 FY2010 22,211 FY2015 (est.) 21,164 Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, “Department of the Interior FTE History: Full-Time Equivalent Staff Year (FTE) Usage of Bureaus and Offices,” http://www.doi.gov/budget/upload/FTE-_History_Table.pdf. Conclusion For FY2016, NPS has requested discretionary appropriations of $3.048 billion, a 16.6% increase over enacted FY2015 appropriations. Much of the increase would be for activities associated with the agency’s centennial anniversary in 2016, especially to address deferred maintenance in the context of the centennial. NPS has also requested a significant increase in its mandatory appropriations for FY2016, some of which would require changes in authorizing law. The 113th Congress did not act on a similar request for FY2015. Over the past decade (FY2006-FY2015), NPS discretionary appropriations rose in nominal dollars but declined slightly (by 0.2%) in inflation-adjusted dollars. In general, the proportion of NPS funding devoted to basic park operations—the Operation of the National Park System account—increased over the decade, as did the portion for land acquisition, while funding for other areas in the NPS portfolio, including construction, declined. c11173008 Congressional Research Service 17 National Park Service: FY2016 Appropriations and Recent Trends . The funding changes took place in the context of a park system of stable size, with a staffing level that hovered around 20,000. Visits to the parks were generally higher in the second half of the decade than the first and peaked in 2014 at approximately 293 million. Author Contact Information Laura B. Comay Analyst in Natural Resources Policy lcomay@crs.loc.gov, 7-6036 c11173008 Congressional Research Service 18 government shutdown of October 2013.29 Table 5. Annual Recreational Visits to the National Park System, 2007-2016

(total visits by calendar year, through January 2016)

Year

Number of Visits(in millions)

Year

Number of Visits(in millions)

2007

275.582

2012

282.766

2008

274.853

2013

273.631

2009

285.580

2014

292.800

2010

281.304

2015

307.247

2011

278.939

2016 (thr. Jan.)

12.874

Source: NPS, NPS Stats, at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/National.

Notes: The figure for 2016 shows visits through January 2016. For comparison with the previous year, visits through January 2015 were slightly lower at 12.190.

Figure 9. Annual Recreational Visits to the National Park System, 2007-2016

(total visits in millions, by calendar year, through January 2016)

Source: National Park Service, NPS Stats, at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/National. National Park Service Staffing NPS's full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing level during the past decade ranged from a low of 19,832 in FY2007 to a high of 22,211 in FY2010 (Figure 10 and Table 6). Measured across the decade, staff size grew from 19,832 in FY2007 to an estimated 21,635 for FY2016, an increase of 9.1%.

Figure 10. NPS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff, FY2007-FY2016 Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, "Department of the Interior FTE History: Full-Time Equivalent Staff Year (FTE) Usage of Bureaus and Offices," at https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/migrated/budget/upload/FTE-_History_Table.pdf. Table 6. NPS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff, FY2007-FY2016

Year

Number of FTEs

Year

Number of FTEs

FY2007

19,832

FY2012

21,830

FY2008

20,301

FY2013

20,720

FY2009

20,991

FY2014

19,894

FY2010

22,211

FY2015

21,164

FY2011

22,051

FY2016 (est.)

21,635

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, "Department of the Interior FTE History: Full-Time Equivalent Staff Year (FTE) Usage of Bureaus and Offices," at http://www.doi.gov/budget/upload/FTE-_History_Table.pdf. Conclusion

P.L. 114-113 provided $2.851 billion in discretionary appropriations for NPS for FY2016. For FY2017, the agency has requested discretionary appropriations of $3.101 billion, an 8.8% increase over the enacted FY2016 appropriation. Much of the additional funding would be for activities associated with the agency's centennial anniversary in 2016, especially to address deferred maintenance in the context of the centennial.

NPS also requested a significant increase in its mandatory appropriations for FY2017, some of which would require changes in authorizing law. Bills in the 114th Congress would provide some of these requested mandatory appropriations.

Over the past decade (FY2007-FY2016), NPS discretionary appropriations rose by 24.0% in nominal dollars and 7.9% in inflation-adjusted dollars. In general, the proportion of NPS funding devoted to basic park operations—the Operation of the National Park System account—increased over the decade, as did the proportion for land acquisition, while funding for other areas in the NPS portfolio, including construction, declined.

The funding changes took place in the context of a park system of stable size, with a staffing level that hovered around 20,000. Visits to the parks were generally higher in the second half of the decade than the first and peaked in 2015 at approximately 307 million visits.

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Analyst in Natural Resources Policy ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

National Park Service (NPS), Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2016, p. Overview-4, at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY-2016-Greenbook.pdf.

2.

The House measure was debated on the floor in June and July 2015. Amendments were offered, including those concerning the sale of the Confederate flag by NPS concessioners, the flag's display at national cemeteries administered by NPS, and its purchase and display at park units generally. Further action was not anticipated until agreement could be reached on the Confederate flag issues. For more information, see CRS Insight IN10313, Display of the Confederate Flag at Federal Cemeteries, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

3.

For more on NPS's deferred maintenance backlog, estimated for FY2015 at $11.93 billion, see CRS Report R43997, Deferred Maintenance of Federal Land Management Agencies: FY2005-FY2014 Estimates, by [author name scrubbed].

4.

Changes in appropriations over time may be measured in actual dollars (also called nominal or current dollars) or in dollar amounts that are adjusted for inflation (known as real, constant, or inflation-adjusted dollars). The latter measure is useful for gauging the relative impact of appropriations over the long term. For example, although NPS's discretionary appropriations of $2.615 billion in FY2015 were higher in nominal dollars than the $2.256 billion appropriated in FY2006, the FY2015 figure bought only the amount of goods and services that $2.251 billion would have purchased in FY2006. In this sense, the FY2015 appropriation represented a decline in NPS spending power compared with FY2006. Several different indexes measure inflation and allow for calculations of inflation-adjusted dollar amounts. This report uses the GDP Chained Price Index from the White House Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 10.1, "Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables—1940-2021," at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. For more information on measuring inflation, see CRS Report RL30344, Inflation: Causes, Costs, and Current Status, by [author name scrubbed].

5.

The Land Acquisition and State Assistance account constitutes NPS's portion of appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is the principal source of funding used by four federal land management agencies—NPS, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service—for land acquisition for outdoor recreation. In addition, the LWCF provides grants to states for outdoor recreation purposes. These grants are administered through NPS. For more information on the LWCF, see CRS Report RL33531, Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Issues, by [author name scrubbed].

6.

The account was titled Centennial Challenge in FY2008, FY2015, and FY2016, but it was called Park Partnership Project Grants in FY2010.

7.

See the discussions below for specific examples.

8.

For example, in FY2007, funding for three museums moved from the National Recreation and Preservation account to the Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) account, and funding for the Harpers Ferry Center moved from the ONPS account to the Construction account.

9.

Prior to FY2008, the U.S. Park Police—a uniformed law-enforcement entity providing protection to park sites in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, DC—received funding under a separate U.S. Park Police account. In this report, ONPS appropriations totals for FY2007 include the Park Police account to provide consistency with subsequent years in which Park Police funding was merged into the ONPS account.

10.

The park support activity includes administering, managing, and supporting the operations of park units.

11.

These external administrative costs include employee compensation payments, unemployment compensation payments, centralized information technology costs, telecommunications, postage, space rental from the General Services Administration, and departmental program charges.

12.

These calculations use funding amounts from annual House Appropriations Committee detailed tables for NPS. It is difficult to calculate exact percentage growth or decline for three of the activities—resource stewardship, visitor services, and park protection (including the U.S. Park Police)—because an account realignment in FY2010 significantly reorganized programs within these areas. However, these three activities combined show a slight growth (+2.0% in inflation-adjusted dollars) between FY2007 and FY2016. Funding for facility operations and maintenance also grew (+6.4% in inflation-adjusted dollars) in this period.

13.

A fuller description of NPS's two-tier priority system is in the agency's FY2017 budget justification, p. Const-8, at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/upload/FY17-NPS-Greenbook-for-website.pdf.

14.

To facilitate multiyear comparisons, the FY2007 total for the National Recreation and Preservation (NR&P) account includes appropriations for the Preserve America program, which was shifted to this account beginning in FY2008.

15.

National heritage areas are established by Congress but are not federally managed, and they are not part of the National Park System. For more on national heritage areas, see CRS Report RL33462, Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

16.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, the FY2016 appropriation for heritage area partnerships was 29.4% higher than the FY2007 appropriation.

17.

The fund was established in an amendment to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (P.L. 94-422, amending P.L. 89-665; 54 U.S.C. §§300101 et seq.).

18.

Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2017, Appendix, p. 700, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2017/assets/int.pdf. Bills in the 114th Congress (H.R. 2817, S. 556, S. 2012, S. 2089) would extend the funding authorization.

19.

The amount shown for FY2007 does not include appropriations for the Preserve America program. See footnote 14.

20.

Although the Save America's Treasures program has not been funded in recent years, it continues to administer existing grants.

21.

See NPS, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2008, p. HPF-11, at http://home.nps.gov/applications/budgetweb/downloads/fy_2008_greenbook.pdf. As of FY2008, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) program also had $4.3 million in unobligated funding to continue to award to HBCUs, although new funds were not being appropriated.

22. The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) account also included appropriations for the Preserve America matching-grant program in FY2007, but in this report its appropriations are counted in the NR&P account, where the program was later funded. Figure 6 thus does not reflect any funding for this program. The program supported historic preservation efforts through heritage tourism, education, and historic preservation planning. It received no funding after FY2010. 23.

The agency has requested $3.0 million for grants to HBCUs for preservation of sites and stories relating to civil rights and the African-American experience.

24.

For more information on the LWCF, see CRS Report RL33531, Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Issues, by [author name scrubbed]. In addition to the state grants and federal land acquisition grants discussed here, a portion of the LWCF also has been used to fund other programs.

25.

Almost all of the system's federally owned lands are directly administered by NPS. However, the federally owned portion of the system also includes some NPS "less than fee" acres (e.g., conservation easements or rights-of-way) and some lands managed by other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, the Forest Service, or the Fish and Wildlife Service. Taken together, these lands amount to about 1% of the federally owned portion of the system.

26.

These units are the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (CO), Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (CA), River Raisin National Battlefield Park (MI), President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site (AR), Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (DC), Fort Monroe National Monument (VA), Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (NJ), Cesar E. Chavez National Monument (CA), Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park (MD), First State National Historical Park (DE), Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (OH), Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (NV), World War I Memorial (DC), Valles Caldera National Preserve (NM), Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (MA and RI), Pullman National Monument (IL), Honouliuli National Monument (HI), Waco Mammoth National Monument (TX), Manhattan Project National Historical Park (TN, NM, and WA), and Castle Mountains National Monument (CA). A list of recent additions to the National Park System can be found at NPS, Recent Changes in the National Park System, at http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/upload/ChangesintheNationalParkSystem410.pdf.

27.

This compares the 2015 visitor total with that for 2007, since 2015 is the most recent year with complete data.

28.

The storm, which struck the East Coast in October 2012, closed nearly 70 park units, in some cases for months. These included heavily visited sites such as the Statue of Liberty, which remained closed through July 2013.

29. In October 2013, the month of the government shutdown, visitation dropped by 6.4 million compared to the previous October. The total decrease for 2013 compared to 2012 was 9.1 million. See NPS, 2013 National Park Visitor Spending Effects: Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation, Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/EQD/NRR—2014/824, July 2014, pp. 2-3, at http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/docs/NPSVSE2013_final_nrss.pdf.