KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — President Joe Biden’s proposed 2022 fiscal year budget invests $3.5 billion in the National Park Service that will help rehabilitate the parks and create jobs.
“The proposed National Park Service budget of $3.5 billion together with another $1.1 billion in mandatory funding, will allow us to make needed improvements to parks across the country, providing our visitors with better experiences and advancing the mission of the National Park Service to preserve and protect these lands unimpaired for future generations,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge said.
Within that $3.5 billion is a $10 million increase for projects improving lands, waters and ecosystems impacted by mineral extraction and an increase of $14 million to support climate vulnerability assessments and environmental impact planning.
It also includes a substantial increase in funding for emergency construction projects to ensure that NPS operations can recover more quickly after facilities and resources are damaged or destroyed. There is also money set aside to replace the NPS-owned fleet with zero-emission vehicles.
The budget implements the Civilian Climate Corps, which will create jobs through $45 million in funding made possible by the Great American Outdoors Act’s National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. The goal is to use the funding to improve the road conditions, buildings, utility systems and other assets in 29 parks across 14 states.
There is funding included to sustain a long-term body-camera program for law enforcement inside the parks, including park rangers and the United States Park Police. The hope is that this program will enhance public trust and accountability in law enforcement.
In 2019, 328 million park visitors spent an estimated $21 billion in local regions while visiting National Park Service lands, supporting a total of 341,000 jobs, $14.1 billion in labor income, $24.3 billion in value-added, and $41.7 billion in economic output.
For more information on the funding potentially coming to the National Parks Service, visit www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/2022-budget.htm.