National Park Service:

Selected Visitor and Cost Data

RCED-91-247FS: Published: Sep 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1991.


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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the National Park Service's (NPS) operations, focusing on: (1) visitor accidents and fatalities data and criminal offenses reported at the parks; (2) the NPS hazardous waste program; and (3) parks established since 1970 that have, or are projected to have, land acquisition and construction appropriations exceeding $40 million.

GAO found that: (1) in fiscal year (FY) 1990, 1,077 visitor accidents resulting in some type of personal injury occurred at national parks; (2) in FY 1990 and FY 1991, about two-thirds of the accidents required first aid or medical attention and about one-third resulted in a temporary disability; (3) from 1971 through mid-August 1991, nearly 3,300 visitor fatalities from accidental causes occurred in the national parks, 88 percent of the fatalities were caused by drownings, motor vehicle accidents, and falls, and the remaining 12 percent included such incidents as natural disasters and accidental shootings; (4) NPS reported over 41,000 criminal offenses during the period between 1987 and 1990; (5) as of mid-August 1991, NPS had identified 1,257 sites that needed to be assessed over the next few years to determine the actual extent, if any, of hazardous waste problems; (6) FY 1991 was the first year that NPS targeted funds specifically for a hazardous waste program; (7) about $4.7 million of the $7.2-million hazardous waste program budget was targeted to test for leaks in underground storage tanks in national parks and, if necessary, clean up the pollution, and remove and replace the tanks; and (8) of the 115 parks established since 1970, 13 had land acquisition and construction appropriations exceeding $40 million.

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