President Signs Portman's Historic National Park Service Bill Into Law

December 16, 2016 | Press Releases

Legislation Will Help Reduce Growing Maintenance Backlog in National Park Service Projects 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that his historic National Park Service Centennial Act, which passed the Senate last week, was signed into law by President Obama. Portman’s bill celebrates the National Park Service’s 100th year of existence and ensures that it has the resources necessary to protect America’s national parks into its second century. In 2006, then-Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Portman helped President and First Lady Bush draft the original National Park Service Centennial Challenge Initiative, which provided new public and private investment to prepare for the Centennial in 2016.

After the bill became law, Portman issued the following statement:

“Ohio is blessed to have eight National Park sites, including a top ten most visited park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which attracts more than 2.2 million visitors every year. This new law will help the National Park Service maintain these sites and preserve the cultural heritage of our great country for future generations. I want to thank President and First Lady George and Laura Bush for launching the idea over ten years ago and for their tireless support of our National Parks. This also couldn't have been signed into law without the support of Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski. I look forward to working in the future to continue improving the visitor experience and increasing visits to our National Parks for their second century.”

Specifically, Portman’s legislation:

  •  Establishes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund within the Treasury to be used for signature projects identified as ones that will help prepare the National Parks for another century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment.

  • Establishes the Second Century Endowment for the National Park System to help attract private donations to help support and enrich the National Park System into its second century and pay for the more than $12 billion backlog in National Park Service projects.

NOTE: Some 2.6 million people visit the eight Ohio National Park Service sites every year.

Senator Portman’s legislation is supported by the National Park Foundation, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Civil War Trust.

For his work to protect our national parks, Portman has received the 2012 NPCA Centennial Award and the 2015 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. Most recently, he received the National Parks Service Centennial Champion Award from Cuyahoga Valley National Park in July.