Portman, King, Daines Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Help Increase Private Donations in Support of Our National Parks

May 10, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Angus King (I-ME), and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation, along with Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR), to help increase private donations to support our National Parks. The National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022 reauthorizes federal funding for the National Park Foundation through fiscal year (FY) 2030 and increases the authorization level from $5 million to $15 million. This funding is used by the National Park Foundation to match private donations that help finance crucial deferred maintenance, Service Corps, and historic preservation, and other signature projects and programs of the National Park Service at national parks in Ohio and around the country. 

The National Park Foundation was created in 1967 as the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service (NPS). Its mission is to generate private support and build strategic partnerships to protect and enhance America’s national parks for present and future generations. The National Park Foundation has, to date, received a total of $23 million in federal appropriations. Each year, the Foundation works, at a minimum, to double the impact of the federal dollars — meaning an annual appropriation of $5 million would have an impact of at least $10 million in national parks around the country.

Senator Portman led the 2016 National Park Service Centennial Act (P.L. 114-289), which authorized the National Park Foundation to receive up to $5 million in annual appropriations through FY 2023. The National Park Foundation matches these federal funds with a minimum of 1:1 in private philanthropic support for priority NPS projects and programs and works with local philanthropic partners to further leverage federal dollars. Most recently, Portman secured the full $5 million for the National Park Foundation in the FY 2022 government funding bill that was signed into law in March 2022.

“The National Park Foundation is an incredibly important partner to our national parks, bringing together federal and private funding to help preserve these natural and cultural treasures for our future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Portman. “Increasing funding for the National Park Foundation, as this legislation would do, will help us strengthen relationships with private partners and support efforts to restore our national parks.”

“America’s National Parks are among the world’s greatest treasures, providing memorable experiences to millions from around the globe. For more than 50 years, the Congressionally-chartered National Park Foundation (NPF) has played a vital role in protecting these lands for current and future Americans,” said National Parks Subcommittee Chairman King. “From expanding camping access at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument to restoring wetlands in Smoky Mountains National Park, the NPF has successfully worked to preserve and expand access to America’s parks. Our bipartisan funding expansion and reauthorization for the NPF will strengthen this essential federal conservation partner, enabling them to continue supporting our national parks and the communities across the country that rely on them.”

“Our national parks help set America apart from the rest of the world, and in Montana, our parks are part of our way of life,” said National Parks Subcommittee Ranking Member Daines. “The National Park Foundation continues to play an important role in supporting and amplifying the National Parks Service mission — we must continue to support them to help ensure folks can experience our parks for generations to come.”

“You shouldn't visit a national park and be waylaid by leaking faucets, faded and damaged signage, and rundown hiking trails. All of our park infrastructure should enhance, not detract from, the incredible natural beauty of America. Millions of families from around the world visit our national parks every year, and this legislation will ensure these national treasures are kept in pristine condition for everyone to enjoy. We've already seen the National Park Foundation put funds into practical action, like modernizing Yellowstone's iconic North Entrance to reduce wait times and fixing crumbling hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation will further allow them to work with partners on the ground to improve each visitor's national park experience. I'm proud to join my colleagues in this effort and look forward to seeing it pass the House and Senate quickly,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman.

“The National Park Foundation is an essential partner that has ensured the National Park Service can meet its mission to protect our public lands and waters for present and future generations. From Saguaros in Tucson and Bison in the Badlands, to the Latino heritage fund and sustainability efforts across our parks, it’s critical that we reauthorize the Foundation and administer the funding it needs to continue its important work. I am proud to partner with my colleagues across the aisle to support the National Park Foundation, improve our park service and protect our public lands,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva.

“We proudly support the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2022 and commend Sens. Portman, King and Daines, and Reps. Westerman and Grijalva for introducing this vital legislation,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “Since receiving federal funds for the first time in 2018, the National Park Foundation has leveraged the federal funding through the power of private philanthropy to match and more than double this critically important federal investment, adding to the tens of millions of private, philanthropic dollars the National Park Foundation and a growing community of park partners invest in America’s national parks each year.”

“The National Park Foundation is a key partner to local friends groups. They assist us with funding needs, most especially around innovative projects and approaches to better serving and supporting our parks.  NPF staff are thought leaders and work alongside of us to promote philanthropic support of our national parks. We see firsthand the difference their funding makes in our parks and the National Park Foundation is critical to the long term preservation and success of our national parks,” said Deb Yandala, CEO of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

“Our more than 420 national parks protect the places and stories that unite us as a nation. But as national park visitation skyrockets, staffing woes increase and climate change continues to impact parks at every angle, park organizations like NPCA and the National Parks Foundation, the philanthropic partner of NPS, have become even more critical to the future of these places. NPCA commends Senators Portman and King for championing legislation that would increase funding for the Foundation to preserve our parks and their resources, like restoring historic structures, conserving wildlife habitats and connecting young people to parks. This funding will help ensure our national parks are supported now, and for generations to come,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association.

“The National Park Foundation plays an essential role in helping steward America’s natural and cultural resources and tell the diverse stories of our country. On behalf of the Service and Conservation Corps community, we thank Senators Portman and King, and Representatives Grijalva and Westerman, for introducing this legislation,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO of The Corps Network. “Every year, the National Park Foundation supports Corps projects across the country. These projects not only protect our national parks, but help train and inspire the next generation of park professionals and champions. We applaud this continued and robust investment in NPF and, by extension, the many enriching programs NPF makes possible.”

“Mississippi Park Connection is a proud park partner, and, working together with the National Park Foundation, we are able to increase our capacity and impact here at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.  Annual appropriations, authorized through the National Park Foundation Reauthorization Act, allow all of us to collectively benefit and more fully leverage funding, which, at the end of the day, means a better experience for current and future park visitors,” said Katie Nyberg, Executive Director, Mississippi Park Connection.