OIA Supports Administration’s Funding Increase for NPS - SNEWS

OIA Supports Administration’s Funding Increase for NPS

OIA strongly supports Administration’s substantial funding increase for National Parks - disappointed over lack of funding for Stateside Land and Water Conservation.

Outdoor Industry Association strongly supports the Administration's proposed budget for the National Park Service announced Monday by U.S. Interior Secretary Kempthorne. The National Park Service would receive an additional $258 million dollars for its fiscal 2008 operations under the budget proposal. This request would be the largest dollar increase ever proposed for national park operations. The increase represents the roll-out of the Administration's Centennial Challenge which is a 10-year plan to invest up to $3 billion of new public and private money into the park system in preparation for the National Park system's 100th anniversary in 2016.

The bulk of the new funds would allow the hiring of 3000 additional seasonal rangers and 500 permanent full-time employees. There is also $1 million set aside for a program aimed at connecting gateway community trails to national parks.

“We appreciate Secretary Kempthorne's vision and dedication in bringing forth an unprecedented funding increase for our national treasures. This budget request if approved will greatly enhance the visitor experience, will expand resource-protection initiatives and takes a fresh approach to using today's technology to engage our children in our nation's historic outdoor venues, “ said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of Outdoor Industry Association.

“However, OIA feels strongly that another essential component to the long-term health of our national parks includes a robust and well-funded Stateside Land and Water Conservation (LWCF) program,” Hugelmeyer added. “Close-to-home recreation opportunities funded by the Stateside LWCF encourage high frequency in the outdoor lifestyle and inspire a greater interest in visiting our National Parks.”

Funding for Stateside LWCF was not included in the Administration's budget request and OIA will work to ensure adequate funding for the program is included in the final budget approved by Congress.