Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recently announced that the National Park Service (NPS) has certified 201 proposals as eligible for consideration for Centennial Challenge federal matching funds in fiscal year 2008. The proposals would be undertaken in national parks as part of the National Park Centennial Initiative 2016. The proposals represent 116 parks and their private sector partners in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
NPS certified only proposals that included a partner committed to providing at least a 50 percent cash match. The over 200 proposals that met the Park Service’s selection criteria represent a total investment of $369.9 million – $215.9 million from partners, and $154 million federal matching funds.
The administration’s Centennial Initiative announced last year, proposes $3 billion in new funds for the National Park Service over the next ten years. Of that amount, $1 billion is the “Centennial Commitment”—$100 million in additional annual appropriations for each of the next ten years. The other $2 billion would come from the “Centennial Challenge” – the challenge to individuals, foundations, and businesses to contribute at least $100 million annually to support signature programs and projects. Each year, $100 million in donations would be matched by $100 million of Federal funding from the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund.
Both the House-passed and the Senate committee-approved versions of the FY 2008 Interior appropriations bill contain the $100 million in additional operations funding identified in the President’s Budget as Centennial Initiative funding. Hearings were recently held in the House (H.R. 2959) and Senate (S. 1253) on legislation to establish the Centennial Fund. Initiation of any of the eligible proposals depends on Congress action on the Centennial Initiative.