National Parks and FYO8 Appropriations:

President Bush signed the fiscal year 2008 "Omnibus" appropriations bill on December 26, 2007. The FY08 budget provides funding for nearly $474 billion in domestic spending programs. The bill will provide an approximate $150 million boost in National Park Service operations budget and an immediate $25 million start-up for the Centennial Challenge Fund.

The $25,000,000 for the Centennial Challenge program was provided to initiate the new proposed ten-year effort planned to generate at least $2 billion for the renewal of the National Park system for its next century. All funds must be matched on a 50/50 basis. The Appropriations Committees agreed to these funds as interim funding to allow the program to commence in FYO8. ARC is delighted by the encouraging statement in the report by the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate that they "expect that permanent authorization will be enacted during the 110th Congress for the full ten-year program effort.” Centennial Challenge Projects are to be selected competitively and are to serve Park Service needs and priorities.

Also noteworthy is the available funds cover a twelve month period, but nearly three months of that period have already passed with spending at a lower FY07 level. This signifies the full-year increases will actually be available for a nine month period.

For a breakdown of major park and recreation programs provided for in the FY08 Budget, go to the Federal Parks and Recreation newsletter

What's Next:
The President is scheduled to give the State of the Union on January 28, 2008 and the FY 2009 budget will be announced in early February. ARC will keep all of its members updated on the progress of this important legislation.