Senate funding bill would boost NPS budget by 9%, to $2.93 billion/NPS file

A funding bill before the Senate provides for a 9% increase in operational funds for the National Park Service and calls for a staffing increase of 1,000, according to the National Parks Traveler.

The $3.463 billion total for the Park Service includes a $340 million increase from the fiscal year 2021 level. If adopted by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, the agency’s operations budget would increase to $2.93 billion.

There also would be $120 million for conservation initiatives ranging from the Civilian Climate Corps and climate-change research and planning to on-the-ground natural resources projects to protect wildlife, improve habitat, reduce wildfire fuels and improve climate resilience.

“For too long, programs protecting public lands, public health, and the environment and supporting tribal communities have been operating on fumes,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, said Monday (Oct. 18) after the committee endorsed the bill.

The measure also provides $1.9 billion for deferred maintenance projects for the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Forest Service as part of a five-year deferred maintenance initiative under Great American Outdoors Act.

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