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By Catharine Richert November 4, 2009

National parks and forests get more government dollars

President Barack Obama promised to boost funding for national parks and forests, and a bill he signed on Oct. 30, 2009, has done just that.
In the latest appropriations bill for the Interior Department, which oversees national parks and forests, Congress approved about $2.7 billion to preserve and improve the tracts of land. That's a $218 million increase over the last National Park Service budget, or about 10 percent, according to the House Appropriations Committee.
About $2.2 billion will go to operating the national park system, and about $15 million will support a new grant program for park preservation, among other things.
National parks advocates praised the increase.
"This bill demonstrates a concerted effort by Congress and the Administration to restore our national treasures in time for the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service," said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association.
"In general, yes we're pleased," said Myke Bybee, Sierra Club's wilderness campaigns coordinator. "There's an increase — a modest increase — but an increase nonetheless ... We feel that Obama lived up to his promise, so we're pretty happy about it.
On this one, it's a Promise Kept for Obama.

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