Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/13/1998)


Title I: National Park Service Career Development, Training,

and Management

Title II: National Park System Resource Inventory and


Title III: Study Regarding Addition of New

National Park System Areas

Title IV: National Park Service Concessions Management

Title V: Fees for Use of National Park System

Title VI: National Park Passport Program

Title VII: National Park Foundation Support

Title VIII: Miscellaneous Provisions

National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 - Title I: National Park Service Career Development, Training, and Management - Requires the Secretary of the Interior to continually improve the ability of the National Park Service to provide state-of-the-art management, protection, and interpretation of, and research on, the National Park System (NPS) resources.

(Sec. 102) Directs the Secretary to develop: (1) a comprehensive training program for employees in all professional careers in the Service's workforce to assure that it has the best, up-to-date knowledge, skills, and abilities with which to manage, interpret, and protect NPS resources; and (2) a clear management development and training program to enable qualified Service employees from any appropriate academic field to move into park management positions, including the position of NPS unit superintendent.

(Sec. 104) Requires: (1) each NPS unit to prepare and make public a five-year strategic plan and an annual performance plan to reflect the Service's policies, goals, and outcomes represented in the Service-wide Strategic Plan, prepared pursuant to the provisions of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993; and (2) each NPS unit superintendent, as part of each unit's annual performance plan, to develop and make public the budget for the current fiscal year for that unit.

Title II: National Park System Resource Inventory and Management - Authorizes and directs the Secretary to: (1) assure that management of NPS units is enhanced by the availability and utilization of a broad program of the highest quality science and information; and (2) in partnership with other Federal and State agencies, enter into cooperative agreements with colleges and universities (including land grant schools) to establish cooperative study units to conduct multi-disciplinary research and develop integrated information products on the NPS resources or the larger region of which parks are a part. Directs the Secretary to: (1) report to specified congressional committees on progress in the establishment of a comprehensive network of such college and university based cooperative study units as will provide full geographic and topical coverage for research on the resources contained in NPS units and their larger regions; and (2) undertake a program of inventory and monitoring of NPS resources to establish baseline information and to provide information on the long-term trends in their condition.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes the Secretary to solicit, receive, and consider requests from Federal or non-Federal public or private agencies, organizations, individuals, or other entities for the use of NPS units for purposes of scientific study. Specifies criteria for approval of requests for such use and waiver of park admission or recreational use fees in order to conduct such studies.

(Sec. 206) Requires: (1) the Secretary to take necessary measures to assure the full and proper utilization of the study results for park management decisions; and (2) in each case in which a park resource may be adversely affected by an action undertaken by the Service, the administrative record to reflect the manner in which unit resource studies have been considered. Requires the trend in the condition of NPS resources to be a significant factor in the annual performance evaluation of each NPS unit superintendent.

(Sec. 207) Provides for the confidentiality of information concerning the nature and location of NPS resource which is endangered, threatened, rare, or commercially valuable, or of mineral or paleontological objects or objects of cultural patrimony within NPS units.

Title III: Study Regarding Addition of New National Park System Areas - National Park System New Areas Studies Act - Amends the National Park System General Authorities Act to direct the Secretary to submit to specified congressional committees a list of areas recommended for study for potential inclusion in the NPS. Outlines factors to be included in such studies, including whether the area possesses nationally significant natural or cultural resources. Prohibits any such study from being initiated after this Act's enactment, except with congressional authorization. Requires each such study to be completed within three years after funds are made available for it. Directs the Secretary to submit to specified congressional committees lists of areas previously studied that contain primarily historical or natural resources, in numerical order of priority for addition to the NPS.

Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: National Park Service Concessions Management - National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 - Directs the Secretary to utilize concessions contracts to authorizepersons, corporations, or other entities to provide accommodations, facilities and services to visitors to NPS units. Requires concessions contracts to be awarded to the entity submitting the best proposal as determined by the Secretary through a competitive selection process.

Requires the Secretary, before awarding a new concessions contract (including renewals or extensions of existing ones) to publicly solicit proposals for the contract and, in connection with such solicitation, to prepare and publish a prospectus providing notice of its availability. Requires congressional notification of any proposed contract with anticipated gross receipts exceeding $5 million or a duration of more than ten years.

Prohibits the Secretary from granting a preferential right to a concessioner to: (1) renew concessions contracts or any other form of preference to such contracts, with exceptions; and (2) provide new or additional services at an NPS unit. Allows such preferential rights to be granted for certain outfitter and guide contracts and certain contracts with annual gross receipts of under $500,000.

Allows the Secretary, without public solicitation, to award: (1) a temporary concessions contract or to extend an existing one for a term not to exceed three years in order to avoid interruption of services to the public at an NPS unit; and (2) a concessions contract in extraordinary circumstances where compelling and equitable considerations require awarding of such contract to a particular party in the public interest.

(Sec. 404) Establishes a maximum ten-year duration for a concessions contract, provided that the Secretary may award a contract for up to 20 years if determined necessary.

(Sec. 405) Sets forth provisions concerning: (1) leasehold surrender interest under new concessions contracts; (2) a special rule for existing possessory interest; (3) transition to a successor concessioner; (4) Federal title to capital improvements by a concessioner on federally-owned land in an NPS unit; and (5) concessioners' rates and charges to the public.

(Sec. 407) Sets forth criteria for determining franchise fees or other monetary considerations. Requires such fees or considerations to be deposited into a special Treasury account. Makes 20 percent of account funds available to support activities throughout the NPS regardless of the unit in which the funds were collected. Establishes subaccounts for each unit within the special account and credits each subaccount with 80 percent of the franchise fees and other monetary consideration collected at a single NPS unit under concessions contracts. Makes subaccount funds available for visitor services and for funding high priority resource management programs.

(Sec. 408) Prohibits concessions contracts or leasehold surrender interests from being transferred, assigned, sold, or otherwise conveyed or pledged by a concessioner without prior written notification to, and approval by, the Secretary under specified conditions.

(Sec. 409) Establishes a National Park Service Concessions Management Advisory Board to advise the Secretary and Service on matters relating to management of concessions in NPS areas. Sets forth congressional reporting requirements for the Board.

(Sec. 410) Requires the Secretary to contract with private entities to conduct those elements of Service concessions management suitable for non-Federal performance, including: (1) health and safety inspections; (2) quality control of concessions operations and facilities; (3) strategic capital planning; and (4) analysis of rates and charges to the public. Requires the Secretary to also consider contracting out other elements of the concessions management program as appropriate.

(Sec. 411) Directs the Secretary, if multiple concessions contracts are awarded to provide similar outfitting, guiding, river running, or other similar services at the same approximate location or resource within a national park, to establish a comparable franchise fee structure for all such contracts. Prohibits an existing contract's terms from being modified or open to renegotiation because of an award of a new contract at the same location or resource.

(Sec. 412) Limits contracts for the provision of transportation services in an NPS unit to a maximum of ten years.

(Sec. 413) Exempts contracts awarded by the Secretary under this Act from certain provisions of Federal law with respect to the leasing of U.S. buildings and properties.

(Sec. 414) Outlines concessioner recordkeeping requirements. Provides that the Comptroller General shall, until the expiration of five calendar years after the close of the business year for each concessioner, have access to and the right to examine any pertinent books, documents, papers, and records of the concessioner related to the contracts.

(Sec. 415) Repeals the National Park Service Concessions Policy Act.

(Sec. 416) Encourages the Secretary to promote the sale of authentic Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and Samoan handicrafts relating to the cultural, historical, and geographic characteristics of NPS units. Exempts revenue derived from such sales from any franchise fee payment.

(Sec. 418) Allows the Secretary, upon request, to authorize a private entity to provide services to visitors to NPS units through a commercial use authorization. Prohibits the authorization from being considered a concessions contract and exempts such authorization from provisions of this Act, except where expressly so stated. Specifies criteria for issuance of such authorizations such as a reasonable fee to recover associated management and administrative costs.

Limits such authorization to: (1) commercial operations with annual gross receipts of not more than $25,000 resulting from services originating and provided solely within an NPS unit pursuant to such authorization; (2) the incidental use of unit resources by commercial operations which provide services originating and terminating outside of unit boundaries; or (3) uses by organized children's camps, outdoor clubs, and nonprofit institutions and other appropriate uses.

Limits authorizations to two-year terms. Prohibits the Secretary from granting a preferential right of renewal for such authorization or similar provisions for such renewal. Permits entities seeking or obtaining an authorization to submit proposals for concessions contracts also.

(Sec. 419) Requires the Secretary, in awarding future Glacier Bay cruise ship concession permits covering cruise ship entries for which a preferential right of renewal existed prior to this title's effective date, to provide such right of renewal pursuant to this Act. Terminates permits awarded under this section by December 31, 2009.

Title V: Fees for Use of National Park System - Authorizes the Secretary to impose a charge to the public for the use of transportation services provided by the Service or a contractor to any NPS unit in addition to any required admission fee. Permits amounts collected to be expended only for costs associated with transportation systems at the unit where the charge was imposed.

(Sec. 502) Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into an agreement providing for an apportionment among each agency of all proceeds derived from the sale of Golden Eagle Passports by private vendors. Apportions such proceeds to each agency on the basis of the ratio of each agency's total revenue from admission fees collected during the previous fiscal year to the sum of all revenue from admission fees collected during the previous fiscal year for all agencies participating in the Golden Eagle Passport Program.

Title VI: National Park Passport Program - Directs the Secretary to establish a national park passport program. Includes under the program a collectible stamp providing the holder admission to all NPS units. Makes such passports nontransferable.

(Sec. 603) Outlines program administrative provisions and requirements, including provisions governing the sale of stamps and passports and the use of passport proceeds for NPS projects. Sets at $50 the fee for the park passport and stamp.

(Sec. 604) Directs the Secretary to make Golden Eagle Passports available to foreign visitors to the United States and available for purchase outside the United States.

Title VII: National Park Foundation Support - Amends the National Park Foundation Act to direct the National Park Foundation to: (1) design and implement a comprehensive program to assist and promote philanthropic programs of support at the individual national park unit level; and (2) include information on the program's progress in a required annual report.

Title VIII: Miscellaneous Provisions - Directs the Secretary to appoint a multidisciplinary task force to fully evaluate the shortfalls, needs, and requirements of law enforcement programs in the Service and a separate analysis for the U.S. Park Police, including a review of facility repair, rehabilitation, equipment, and communication needs. Requires a report from the Secretary to specified congressional committees on findings and recommendations.

(Sec. 802) Amends the National Park System General Authorities Act to authorize the Secretary to enter into: (1) a lease with any person or governmental entity for the use of buildings and associated property administered by the Secretary as part of the NPS (other than for activities related to concessions contracts or commercial use authorizations); and (2) an agreement, under specified conditions and where an NPS unit is located near a State or local park area, with a State or local government agency for the cooperative management of the Federal and State or local park areas. Outlines lease requirements.

Directs the Secretary to simplify, to the maximum extent possible, the leasing process for historic properties with the goal of leasing available structures in a timely manner.