This bill would establish funds and endowments aimed at raising money for the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service (NPS) while enacting reforms to improve the NPS for its second century of operation. The “Centennial Challenge Fund” would be modified to match every dollar of private donations with federal funds that would be used for major projects and programs to enhance the NPS.
The Centennial Challenge Fund would also receive revenue from annual parks passes for senior citizens, and a price increase in the NPS’ lifetime pass for seniors. Senior passes are available to Americans age 62 and up and cost $20 for an annual pass, while a lifetime pass is currently $10 that would be raised to $10, with the additional revenue going to the Fund.
A “Second Century Endowment” would be established within the National Park Foundation to accept gifts and bequests from the public. The endowment would also receive revenue from new fees on lodging paid by NPS visitors, although educational groups and NPS employees would be exempted from the fees. All endowment funds would be prohibited from going toward administrative expenses, and must be used on projects and activities that advance the mission of the NPS and are approved by the Dept. of the Interior.
The leadership structure of the NPS would be modified to make the Secretary of the Interior and the NPS Director non-voting members of the National Park Foundation Board, which would mirror the structures used by the National Forest Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The NPS’ “Volunteers in the Parks” program would see its funding expanded from $7 million to $10 million to provide the growing numbers of volunteers with the resources they need to improve the parks.