Department Of Interior
|OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY||
Contact:Hugh Vickery 202-501-4633
|For Immediate Release: July 2, 2003||
Bill Line 202-208-5587
Secretary Norton Presents a Report to President Bush
On Commitment to Improve National Park System
"Like the millions of
Americans who will visit them this summer, President Bush has a deep
love and appreciation of our national parks," Norton said. "I
am proud to give him this report that shows the good work the Interior
Department is doing to safeguard these treasures and provide a better
experience for visitors."
The 36-page report titled,
"Partnering and Managing
for Excellence", gives a snapshot of the current state of the
park system and outlines steps the National Park Service will take over
the next two years to improve and strengthen the management and stewardship
of our parks.
From 2002 through 2004, the
president's budgets have provided nearly $2.9 billion to help reduce
a $4.9 billion maintenance and repair backlog in the park system. During
his term, the National Park Service has undertaken 60 fire safety projects,
140 general building rehabilitation projects, 186 upgrades and repairs
to water, wastewater, and sewer facilities, as well as many other projects.
In addition, the Service is undertaking 500 maintenance and repair projects
in Fiscal Year 2003.
To prevent future backlogs,
the president has more than doubled funding for regular upkeep of park
facilities, from $24 million in FY 2000 to $56 million for FY 2004,
as part of his maintenance backlog initiative.
The National Park Service
also is working to improve the condition of park roads. In 2001, just
35 percent of park roads were in good condition. Under a new transportation
bill, the president proposes to provide funding to reach a goal of more
than 80 percent of park roads in good or excellent condition.
"The Park System has
suffered from neglect for many years but we are changing that,"
Norton said. "We are working with our states, local governments,
conservation groups, private citizens and others to ensure that our
parks continue to be the finest in the world, providing millions of
people safe, enjoyable and inspiring visits."
The document also reports
that the National Park System is developing a detailed inventory of
the 7,500 facilities located at the nation's 388 parks. For the first
time ever, park managers will have a system of prioritizing work at
these facilities, so they can put budget resources in the places that
will do the most good.
"Our parks are no different from a home in that they need continual maintenance, and priorities must be established and followed," Norton said. "If your roof is leaking, it is important to fix it before you replace your old carpet with a new one. Parks need the same well-planned approach."
Other highlights of the report include:
Selected Press Releases