What percentage of national park funding comes from Congress?

National parks have other ways to get money, including admission fees, bookstores, concessions, and private donations. How much of their budget comes from tax dollars? Are any parks self-sufficient?

The NPS budget is around $3 billion/year, with a backlog of about $12 billion of deferred maintenance. So, it’s around 25% of the income for the parks in general.

Bear in mind that the NPS has other sources of revenue than Congressional appropriations, those other revenue streams must go thru a government process. With that process also shut down, the NPS cannot access those other revenue streams.

It should be pointed out that the United States National Park System (and National Forests, National Monuments, National Seashores and Marine Presevea, National Waterways, National Resource Areas, et cetera) are major draws for both foreign and domestic tourism. So the economic benefits realized are far beyond admission fees and concessions, and manifestly benefit local economies and state revenues. For instance, Utah’s “Big Five” National Parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef) generated nearly US$8B in revenues in 2014 in a state with very little heavy industry and only a variable winter sports industry, and which has a robust but modest agricultural industry. This translates to about US$1B in state sales taxes as well as state and federal income tax from jobs and entrepreneurial business generated through tourism revenues that would be othherwise non-existent.

The costs of the NPS is a pittance compared to the overall economic benefit, not to mention the preservation and management of often delicate wilderness and areas of natural beauty for future generations. It makes zero sense to starve the NPS (and US Forest Service, and other agencies responsible for preserving and managing federal lands and waters) to save a paltry sum that is far less than the amount of money that disappears into DoD coffers without any accountability or apparent benefit of any kind beyond corporate welfare.


Surely the question is not about whether public funding is a good idea. It’s about why/whether the Parks need to close in a shutdown.

National Forests are not part of the national park system. National monuments are administered by several agencies, in addition to the NPS.

Nowhere in my post did I indicate that to be the case.


I’m not seeing where the 25% comes from. The three sources of revenue in that quote add up to about $366 million. That’s around 12% of $3 billion, not 25%.

You’re correct, I was using a smaller number for the budget by accident.