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 Home > News & Policies > February 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 7, 2007

Fact Sheet: The National Parks Centennial Initiative

     Fact sheet President and Mrs. Bush Participate in Roundtable on the National Parks Centennial Initiative
     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses the National Parks Centennial Initiative
     Fact sheet In Focus: Environment

Today, President And Mrs. Bush Visited Shenandoah National Park To Highlight The National Parks Centennial Initiative.  Shenandoah National Park is a strong model for illustrating how the President's FY 2008 budget and the Centennial Initiative will benefit the National Park System.  Overall, the President's FY 2008 Parks budget, totaling nearly $2.4 billion, is the largest ever for park operations, and includes the highest increase ever in parks operations funding.  For the Shenandoah National Park, this means an increase of nearly $2 million (17 percent) over 2006 levels for park operations, including the hiring of additional seasonal employees, plus more than $2 million in construction to rehabilitate scenic overlooks in the Shenandoah National Park. 

  • The National Parks Centennial Initiative Will Enhance Our National Parks During The Decade Leading Up To Their 100th Anniversary In 2016.  Last August, in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the National Park Service, President Bush directed Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to set specific performance goals and select signature projects and programs to enhance our National Parks during the decade leading up to the 2016 centennial celebration of the creation of America's National Park System.  Over the next 10 years, the Interior Department aims to leverage increased government investment with private philanthropy to fund significant improvements to our National Parks. 
  • This Spring, Secretary Kempthorne Will Deliver A Report To The President Identifying Major Goals And Signature Projects And Programs To Be Accomplished By 2016.  Goals include: enhancing family experiences in parks through interactive interpretive programs, improving visitor services, restoring historic and cultural sites for public enjoyment, and engaging Americans in preserving their heritage through volunteerism and philanthropy.  Secretary Kempthorne will seek public input on these goals and projects.

The National Parks Centennial Initiative

President Bush Proposed The National Parks Centennial Initiative To Put America's National Parks On Track For Another Century Of Conservation, Preservation, And Enjoyment.  It provides for the potential of up to $3 billion in new funds over the next 10 years:

  • The President's Centennial Commitment: $100 million per year – $1 billion over 10 years – for improvements to our parks, including hiring 3,000 more seasonal National Park Rangers, interpreters, and maintenance workers; repairing buildings; improving natural landscapes; and encouraging more children to join the Junior Ranger program. 
  • The President's Centennial Challenge: The President challenges individuals, foundations, and the private sector to help support the parks by contributing $100 million annually for ten years for signature projects and programs.
  • The President's Centennial Match: The President is calling on Congress to pass legislation allowing the Federal government to match these private contributions dollar for dollar, up to $100 million each year in mandatory funds for ten years.  This match, coupled with the private contributions, will dramatically expand the National Park Service's legacy of leveraging philanthropic investment for the benefit of our National Parks and future generations of visitors.

The President's FY 2008 Parks Budget

The President's FY 2008 Parks Budget, Totaling Nearly $2.4 Billion, Is The Largest Ever For Park Operations And Includes The Highest Increase Ever In Parks Operations Funding.  This will allow for improvement and expansion of operations throughout the National Park System.

  • The President's budget increases park operations funding by more than $250 million over 2006.  Since taking office, the President has increased park operational spending by more than 40 percent ($584 million).
  • This includes $100 million for the President's Centennial Commitment and more than $150 million to support daily park operations with all 390 National Parks receiving increased funding. 

This Record Funding Increase, Together With The President's Centennial Challenge And Centennial Match, Would Lead To An Additional $450 Million Over 2006 Levels In Operating Funds And Signature Projects And Programs For 2008. 

The National Park System

The National Park System Is Administered By The National Park Service, A Bureau Of The Department Of The Interior.  The National Park System was started with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872, and includes areas of historical as well as scenic and scientific importance throughout the United States.  The System now comprises 390 areas covering more than 84 million acres in 49 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.

  • Located 75 Miles West Of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park Encompasses Part Of The Blue Ridge Mountains In The Piedmont Region Of Virginia.  With over 500 miles of hiking trails, Shenandoah National Park is renowned for its diverse recreational opportunities.  Almost 40 percent of the land area (79,579 acres) has been designated as Wilderness and is protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

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