Updated June 13, 2019
National Park Service: FY2019 Appropriations
The National Park Service (NPS) administers the National
Park System, which includes 419 units valued for their
natural, cultural, and recreational importance and covers
85 million acres (roughly 81 million acres of federal land
and 4 million acres of nonfederal land). NPS is part of the
Department of the Interior and typically receives funding in
annual appropriations laws for Interior, Environment, and
Related Agencies. This CRS product discusses NPS’s
FY2019 appropriations; for information on FY2020, see
CRS In Focus IF11178, National Park Service: FY2020
P.L. 116-6, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, was
enacted on February 15, 2019. The law provided $3.223
billion in discretionary appropriations for NPS, 1% more
than the enacted FY2018 regular appropriation of $3.202
billion. The law included increases for four NPS accounts
and reductions for two accounts, as compared with FY2018.
2019. For more information, see CRS In Focus IF11079,
National Park Service: Government Shutdown Issues.
NPS’s Appropriations Accounts
NPS had six discretionary appropriations accounts funded
in FY2019 (Figure 1 and Table 1). About 78% of the
regular appropriation went to the Operation of the National
Park System (ONPS) account to support the day-to-day
activities, programs, and services of the park system. These
include resource stewardship, visitor services, park
protection, facility operations and maintenance, and support
and administrative costs. The FY2019 appropriation for the
ONPS account was $2.503 billion; the Administration had
requested $2.425 billion.
Figure 1. NPS Appropriations Accounts for FY2019
FY2019 appropriations in P.L. 116-6 were 18% higher than
the Trump Administration’s request of $2.730 billion. (The
request originally had been $2.431 billion but was raised in
a budget addendum following an increase to FY2019
spending caps in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, P.L.
115-123.) The enacted discretionary appropriation exceeded
the Administration’s request for each NPS budget account.
In addition to regular appropriations, Congress included
supplemental funding for NPS hurricane recovery activities
in FY2019 as part of P.L. 116-20, enacted on June 6, 2019.
These funds, designated as emergency spending (outside of
discretionary spending limits), totaled $128.0 million across
two accounts, bringing NPS’s total FY2019 discretionary
appropriations to $3.351 billion. This compares to a total of
$3.460 billion for FY2018, which included supplemental
appropriations ($257.6 million) in P.L. 115-123, also to
address hurricane damage.
In addition to discretionary appropriations, NPS estimated
mandatory appropriations for FY2019 of $0.768 billion, an
increase of 9% over NPS mandatory funding for FY2018.
NPS’s mandatory appropriations come from entrance and
recreation fees, concessioner fees, donations, and other
sources, and they are used for a variety of specified
purposes, including deferred maintenance.
The House passed H.R. 6147 on July 19, 2018. It would
have provided $3.262 billion for NPS for FY2019. On
August 1, 2018, the Senate passed its version of H.R. 6147,
with $3.219 billion for NPS. Because regular FY2019
appropriations were not enacted by the start of the fiscal
year, NPS received continuing appropriations at the
FY2018 level after October 1, 2018. When continuing
appropriations lapsed, a partial government shutdown
affected NPS between December 22, 2018, and January 25,
Source: H.Rept. 116-9.
Notes: Figure does not reflect FY2019 supplemental appropriations
of $128.0 million in P.L. 116-20.
ONPS = Operation of the National Park System. NR&P = National
Recreation and Preservation.
The next-largest amount, 11% of the regular appropriation,
went to NPS’s Construction account, which covers
rehabilitation and replacement of existing facilities as well
as new construction. In recent years, the agency has
planned no new facility construction, in order to prioritize
deferred maintenance. NPS prioritizes projects based on
“mission factors” and cost-benefit considerations. The
account also covers other construction activities and
planning functions. P.L. 116-6 appropriated $364.7 million
for the NPS Construction account for FY2019; the
Administration’s request was $241.3 million. The account
also received supplemental appropriations of $78.0 million
in P.L. 116-20 to address hurricane damage.
Approximately 5% of the FY2019 regular discretionary
appropriation went to the Land Acquisition and State
Assistance (LASA) account. These monies come from the
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF; 54 U.S.C.
National Park Service: FY2019 Appropriations
§§200301 et seq.), the primary funding source for the
federal land management agencies to acquire lands. For
more information on the LWCF, see CRS Report RL33531,
Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding
History, and Issues. NPS’s LASA account covers both
NPS’s own acquisitions (typically consisting of nonfederal
“inholdings” inside the boundaries of national park units)
and grants to states for outdoor recreation needs. Of the
$168.4 million appropriated for FY2019, $44.4 million was
for NPS acquisition and $124.0 million was for state
assistance. The federal portion included $10.0 million for
American Battlefield Protection Program grants to assist
states and localities with acquiring threatened battlefields.
The Administration had requested negative funding for the
LASA account (with a rescission of prior-year funds). The
request included no project funding for new NPS
acquisitions and none for state assistance. Noting a funding
increase for the state program from mandatory
appropriations under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security
Act (P.L. 109-432), the Administration proposed that
support for the state program be shifted entirely to
About 3% of the FY2019 regular appropriation was for the
Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) account. The HPF was
established by the National Historic Preservation Act (54
U.S.C. §§300101 et seq.). The fund receives $150 million
annually from offshore energy revenues, but monies are
available only as provided in appropriations acts. P.L. 1166 provided $102.7 million for FY2019, primarily for NPS
formula grants to state and tribal historic preservation
offices to conserve cultural and historical assets and sites.
Portions of the total also were for competitive grant
programs, including programs targeted to underserved
communities, sites associated with the civil rights
movement, historically black colleges and universities, and
historic revitalization, as well as the Save America’s
Treasures program (which preserves nationally significant
sites, structures, and artifacts). P.L. 116-20 provided an
additional $50 million in supplemental appropriations for
activities related to hurricane recovery. The Administration
had requested $32.7 million overall for the HPF account.
The National Recreation and Preservation (NR&P) account
received about 2% of the FY2019 total appropriation. This
account funds NPS programs that assist state, local, tribal,
and private land managers with outdoor recreation
planning, resource preservation, and other activities. The
largest single program funded through the account is NPS
assistance to national heritage areas. The total FY2019
appropriation for the NR&P account was $64.1 million, of
which $20.3 million was for national heritage areas. The
Administration had requested $32.2 million for the account,
of which $0.4 million was for national heritage areas.
About 1% of the FY2019 appropriation went to the
Centennial Challenge account, to support the National Park
Centennial Challenge Fund. Authorized by Congress in
2016 (54 U.S.C. §§103501 et seq.), the fund provides
matching grants to spur donations for projects or programs
that further the NPS mission and enhance the visitor
experience. Deferred maintenance projects are prioritized.
The FY2019 appropriation for the account was $20.0
million; the Administration had requested no discretionary
funding. The Centennial Challenge Fund also is authorized
to receive offsetting collections from the sale of senior
passes under the Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement
Act (16 U.S.C. §§6801-6814), and the Administration
estimated that FY2019 offsetting collections would be
For More Information
For more information, see CRS Report R42757, National
Park Service Appropriations: Ten-Year Trends; and CRS
Report R44934, Interior, Environment, and Related
Agencies: Overview of FY2019 Appropriations.
Table 1. NPS Discretionary Appropriations by Account ($ in millions)
Operation of Nat’l. Park System
Land Acquisition & State Assistance
National Recreation & Preservation
Historic Preservation Fund
Source: House Appropriations Committee detailed spending tables and P.L. 116-20. Totals may not sum precisely due to rounding.
a. FY2018 figures do not reflect supplemental appropriations of $257.6 million in P.L. 115-123 to address hurricane damage (designated as
emergency spending not subject to discretionary spending limits).
b. Amount reflects a request of $8.8 million in new budget authority offset by a $10.0 million cancellation of prior-year balances.
c. Total as shown in NPS FY2019 Budget Addendum. The total differs from that shown in H.Rept. 116-9 ($2,702.0 million) because the NPS
FY2019 Budget Addendum did not include a $28.1 million rescission of contract authority from the Land and Water Conservation Fund
that is shown in H.Rept. 116-9.
Laura B. Comay, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
National Park Service: FY2019 Appropriations
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