Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici and National Parks Subcommittee Chairman Craig Thomas today congratulated President George W. Bush for his sustained investment in maintenance and improvements at America’s national parks. Interior Secretary Gale Norton today released a report that showed a record $1.8 billion budget for national parks being spent on improved trails, upgraded campgrounds, better roads, more staff, rehabilitated visitors centers and modernized sewer, water and drinking systems. The report cites 4,000 new projects underway at parks in 49 states. Chairman Domenici’s statement: “I am pleased with the strong progress we’ve made to improve our neglected national parks. More needs to be done, but we have made strong strides these past 3 ½ years. I congratulate President Bush for his unwavering commitment to restore our cherished national parks to their former glory. Americans need the healing and restorative powers of our national parks now as much as ever. I wish for my children and grandchildren national parks as beautiful and grand as they were when I was a boy. More than 4,000 projects underway at national parks in 49 states help ensure that legacy.” Chairman Thomas’s statement: "There continues to be a great deal of talk about funding needs, but what many people don’t realize is that the National Park Service budget has more funds per employee, per acre, and per visitor, than at any other time in the agency’s history—largely due to the efforts of President Bush. For the first time ever, our parks have business plans in place and have established a nationwide inventory of all park assets. “A sign posted above the stone gate over the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park sums up what our national parks are all about: 'This park was created and is now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.' I believe that the National Park Service will continue to work on initiatives to protect resources, increase and enhance visitor services, and improve management throughout the system. We must guarantee that our national treasures are available for generations to come."