The National Park Service preserves America’s natural and cultural treasures, attracting visitors from across the country and around the world. This year, they turn 100!

Quick Facts

For nearly a century, national parks have drawn people from across the U.S. and around the globe who enjoy their splendor as a recreational opportunity or simply as an unparalleled sightseeing experience. But beyond their natural beauty, our public lands contribute to our local and national economies.

Every dollar invested in the national parks yields nearly $10 in economic activity. In 2015, the national parks welcomed more than 307 million visitors, supporting 295,300 jobs and $32 billion in economic activity annually. By restoring park operations and maintenance funding, launching the Centennial Challenge and reauthorizing recreational fee authority, we’ll make strides in ensuring visitors a safe, enriching park experience our national parks’ next century of operation.

Recommendations

Restore Park Funding

The quality of the visitor experience depends on the capacity to keep parks open, trails maintained and visitor centers staffed. Budget cuts in recent years have shortened park hours, reduced the number of rangers and deferred park operations and maintenance. Basic federal investment is needed to protect park resources and the countless local economies that depend on them.

Reinvest in Centennial Challenge

This bipartisan proposal incentivizes individuals, foundations and businesses to match federal funds to help restore and modernize our national parks. The Centennial Challenge would reauthorize this program for the upcoming 100th anniversary celebration.

Reauthorize Fee Authority

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) authorizes the National Park Service to issue annual passes and charge entry fees. This revenue is essential to underwrite maintenance, education and law enforcement at individual parks. Unless FLREA is renewed, national parks will lose about $180 million annually.

Reduce Transportation Maintenance Backlog

The National Park System’s roads, bridges, tunnels and transit services are in desperate need of repair. Transportation facilities located on or operating in national parks are federal facilities and depend on federal transportation funding. Because of chronic underfunding, transportation projects now comprise more than half of the nearly $12 billion parks maintenance backlog.

Quick Facts

  • 84M

    Acres of national park land in the U.S.
    Including battlefields, seashores, recreation areas, national monuments and other designated areas.
  • $12B

    Value of needed national park maintenance repairs currently backlogged.
    Transportation projects – including roads, bridges, tunnels and transit services – comprise more than half of the backlogged maintenance repairs.
  • 307.2M

    National park visitors in 2015.
    National parks supported 295,300 jobs and $32 billion in economic activity in 2015.

Research, News and Commentary on Public Lands

Happy Holidays from U.S. Travel

December 16, 2016

With final approval given for Norwegian Air International to expand service to the United States and with the passage of the National Park Centennial Act, the travel industry is ending 2016 on a bright note.

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Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

U.S. Travel Hails Passage of National Park Service Centennial Act

December 06, 2016

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement upon the House's passage of H.R. 4680, the National Park Service Centennial Act

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U.S. Travel Readies to Engage New Administration, Congress with Bipartisan Agenda

November 04, 2016

Ahead of Election Day, U.S. Travel continues its efforts to reinforce travel’s value and impact in the eyes of our nation’s leaders. No matter the outcome, our industry is poised to continue progress and to advance our priorities with the next administration and new Congress.

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Upper and lower Yosemite falls

Study: More Overseas Visitors Choosing U.S. National Parks

November 02, 2016

National parks are an increasingly attractive destination for overseas visitors to America, according to a U.S. Travel Association analysis of Commerce Department data.

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Highlights of U.S. National Park Visits by Overseas Travelers

November 02, 2016

This fact sheet outlines the increase in overseas visitors to U.S. National Parks.

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U.S. Travel Research Round-Up: U.S. Regions Enjoy Quiet Domestic Travel Resurgence, Economic Outlook and Travel Interest Defy Election Gloom

October 25, 2016

Here’s a sampling of October 2016’s most compelling findings from the U.S. Travel research team.

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