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 Home > News & Policies > August 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 15, 2003

Fact Sheet: Strengthening and Caring for America's National Parks

Today's Presidential Action

Today, President Bush visited the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Thousand Oaks, California to highlight his agenda to care for our National Parks.

Since President Bush took office, he has committed nearly $2.9 billion towards reducing an estimated $4.9 billion maintenance backlog at National Parks. Under his leadership, approximately 900 maintenance backlog projects have been completed; 900 more are underway and planned.

Background on Today's Presidential Action

On May 30, 2001, President Bush announced the National Parks Legacy Project to care for our National Parks for the enjoyment of future generations of Americans. The Legacy Project funds the infrastructure needs of our National Park System, establishes accountability through performance goals, and enhances the National Park experience.

Improved Facility Management and Action on the Maintenance Backlog:

  • When President Bush took office, our National Parks had never systematically inventoried and assessed building and road maintenance needs. National Parks did not measure whether facilities were improved.
  • In 2002, the National Park Service inventoried nearly 15,000 park facilities and established an index to measure a facility's condition. By the end of next year, all 388 National Parks will have assessed the condition of buildings and roads. For the first time, this will allow National Parks to measure improvements as maintenance projects are completed.
  • At the same time, the President's budget is providing National Parks with additional funding necessary to care for land and facilities. The President's FY 2004 budget requests a total of $1.08 billion for maintenance and construction, up from $829 million in FY 2001, to reduce the maintenance backlog.
  • President Bush boosted funding for the science-based Natural Resource Challenge, which allows the National Park Service to develop innovative means to monitor park natural resources, ensuring the protection of wildlife and an enjoyable experience for visitors. The President's Natural Resource Challenge FY 2004 budget request increased funding to $76.1 million, $46.6 million more than when he first took office - an increase of 158 percent.

People and Parks:

  • In 2001-2002, volunteers contributed approximately nine million hours of service to the National Park Service cleaning trails, repairing facilities, leading education programs, and assisting visitors.
  • In the peak summer months, an average of 1.1 million people will visit a National Park each day.
  • Recent 2002 visitor satisfaction surveys show that visitors truly enjoy their National Parks experiences: 95 percent of visitors rate their visit as "good" to "very good".

For more information on the President's initiatives, please visit