The Biden-Harris administration has recently unveiled the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes a $3.8 billion budget request for the National Park Service (NPS).
The said budget is intended to prioritize initiatives that focus on advancing racial equity and supporting underserved communities, addressing the climate crisis in the National Park System, conserving natural resources, and making science-based decisions.
Chuck Sams, NPS director, stated that the proposed investments are crucial for the NPS’s continued success, and it remains committed to guaranteeing that every American can access, enjoy, and learn from every national park.
This year’s budget supports the public’s strengthening commitment, which ranges from developing new parks to fostering connections with communities and tribes, and enhancing in-park and digital experiences for visitors.
The NPS plays a crucial role in preserving natural wonders and connecting Americans to their past and each other, serving as a critical economic activity driver for small businesses and communities across the country.
Every $1 invested by Congress in national parks generates more than $10 in visitor spending, making it an important investment for the nation.
The FY 2024 budget request for the National Park Service makes critical investments in conservation by addressing vital challenges and preserving lands and waters for future generations to use and enjoy.
Increasing operational budgets will help improve boots-on-the-ground capacity for science and natural resource management activities, protecting the nation’s treasures from 21st-century threats like climate change.
This year’s conservation investments include expanding youth corps programs that provide jobs for young people, supporting scientific and research collaboration through Research Learning Centers, creating permanent capacity to respond to and recover from natural disasters, assessing climate change vulnerabilities, and investing in charging equipment and infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles.
The FY 2024 budget also prioritizes racial justice and equity, reflecting the administration’s commitment to advancing equity for all, including people of color and historically underserved, marginalized individuals adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.
Targeted investments within this budget proposal will fund initial costs for recently added parks to the National Park System, better serve tribal nations and indigenous people, and support the implementation of the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act, among other initiatives.
Moreover, this year’s budget supports basic operational capacity needs at all parks, rivers, and trails and addresses staffing needs for new and additional responsibilities.
The budget proposal invests in essential modernization of information technology systems and visitor services on digital platforms.
The FY 2024 budget request for the National Park Service totals $3.8 billion. It is composed of $3.2 billion for operations of the National Park System, representing a $266.3 million increase from the FY 2023 enacted budget, and $15 million for the Centennial Challenge program, which must be matched on at least a 1:1 basis.
Additionally, the National Recreation and Preservation program supports local community efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources and is included in the budget.
One key aspect of the Biden-Harris administration’s budget proposal for the National Park Service (NPS) is its emphasis on advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities.
This includes efforts to make parks more accessible for all visitors, including those from underserved communities who may face transportation barriers or other obstacles to visiting public lands.
By investing in new parks and improving existing ones, the NPS can help expand access to outdoor recreation opportunities and promote economic growth in nearby communities.
Another important aspect of the budget proposal is its focus on conservation. Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing public lands today, and the NPS must take action to protect these resources for future generations.
By investing in science and natural resource management activities, the NPS can better understand the impacts of climate change on public lands and develop strategies to mitigate those impacts.
The budget proposal also includes investments in charging equipment and infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles, which can help reduce the carbon footprint of visitors to public lands.
Moreover, the proposal includes investments in park capacity and administrative priorities, such as enhancing visitor services and education programs, modernizing information technology systems, and addressing staffing needs.
These investments can improve the visitor experience, increase visitor spending in nearby communities, and support the overall sustainability of the outdoor hospitality industry.