Deferred Maintenance

Deferred Maintenance at the NPS

The National Park System tells the story of remarkable people and events in our nation’s rich history at sites as diverse as Gettysburg National Military Park, Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, and Native American cultural sites like Mesa Verde National Park. Unfortunately, inconsistent public funding has resulted in an infrastructure repair backlog of about nearly $12 billion dollars, and many of the National Park Service’s most significant historic sites are at risk of falling into disrepair. The Great American Outdoors Act provided much-needed resources to tackle the backlog, but robust annual appropriations continue to be necessary.

The Great American Outdoors Act

In the summer of 2020, the Senate and House overwhelmingly passed the GAOA with strong bipartisan votes. On August 4, 2020 the bill was signed into law.

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About Our Work

The National Trust for Historic Preservation joined the Pew Charitable Trusts on their Restore America’s Parks campaign to seek a reliable, dedicated federal funding source to address the deferred maintenance backlog. The campaign successfully made the case for funding that will help ensure that we preserve historic buildings and sites, maintain buildings and infrastructure in safe condition, and that parks remain open and accessible so that the public can continue to learn from and experience the stories that tell our nation’s history.

The Great American Outdoors Act

The Great American Outdoors Act is Now Law

During the week of June 14, 2020 the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that will provide the greatest investment in historic and cultural resources on our public lands in more than a generation. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which passed with bipartisan support by of vote of 73-25 on June 17, 2020 will invest up to $9.5 billion to repair historic and other assets of the National Park Service (NPS) and other federal agencies. It will also fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually to help our public lands continue to grow to tell fuller American stories and provide greater access to our shared cultural heritage. The bill passed the House on July 22, 2020 with a strong bipartisan vote of 310-107. 


The National Trust advocates for robust funding by Congress of the Repair and Rehabilitation, Cyclic Maintenance, and Line Item Construction accounts in the annual Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill. These accounts are essential to a service-wide deferred maintenance strategy to address the National Park Service’s backlog. Use our free resource included in the Trust’s report: “The Preservation Budget: Select Preservation Priorities for FY 2024 Appropriations.”

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 One-pagers and Resources

As you’re speaking about the importance of addressing the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks, consider using these PDF resources from our partners at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Loaded with data and examples, these documents can help you make your case and tell your story.


The National Trust HOPE Crew initiative partners with youth corps programs to bring thousands of crew members to work on hundreds of sites, learning preservation craft skills while rehabilitating historic places.