2018 CPANP Letterhead

Senator Lisa Murkowski
Chairman
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Representative Ken Calvert
Chairman
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Senator Tom Udall
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Representative Betty McCollum
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Committees,

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks extends its thanks for your efforts in passing the FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  The Coalition consists of over 1,500 retired, former, and current National Park Service employees with over 35,000 years of collective experience working for national parks.

We were pleased that Republicans and Democrats worked together to provide much-needed increased funding for the National Park Service.  The continued support by members of both parties to find more money for NPS priorities, including the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog, benefits visitors to our parks around the country and allows fundamental natural and cultural resource preservation programs to meet the needs of communities throughout the nation.

The NPS received an appropriation of $3.2 billion, which was a $270 million increase over the current FY 2017/CR levels and $648 million over the president’s request. The Coalition was particularly pleased to see an increase for the historic preservation programs of the NPS, which will help toward the repair and restoration of a number of vitally important historic structures throughout the nation.  Congress provided additional construction funding to address the backlog of maintenance needs and ensured the Park Service will be able to purchase significant properties within park boundaries.  Through long and tireless negotiations, many harmful policy riders were removed from the final bill. We agree that these types of unnecessary additions to the bills have no place in the funding process and we urge lawmakers to avoid including these riders in future bills.

Congress has sent the administration a message that the National Park Service deserves and needs its support.  The national parks received over 331 million visits in 2016 that resulted in total visitor spending of $18.4 billion and the creation of a number of jobs in local gateway communities.  With the visitation numbers in 2017 very close to that 331 million mark, the appropriations you have provided in FY 2018 will not only benefit the visitors and the resources that they travel to see, but also will impact local communities that surround these significant natural, historic, and cultural resources.  We hope that members of Congress will continue to support legislation that provides the National Park Service with the funding it needs for our parks and its programs.

Sincerely,

 

Philip A. Francis, Jr., Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks