National Park Service:

Information on Special Account Funds at Selected Park Units

RCED-96-90: Published: May 17, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the National Park Service's (NPS) special account funds, focusing on: (1) the sources and amounts of these funds; and (2) whether the expenditures of these funds are consistent with intended purposes.

GAO found that: (1) the value of the eight NPS accounts reviewed totalled $45 million; (2) five of these accounts recovered the costs associated with in-park activities and the other three provided cash and noncash benefits; (3) in 1994, cost-recovery accounts totalled $6.5 million and non-cost-recovery accounts totalled $38.5 million; (4) cost-recovery accounts are funded through living history demonstrations, reimbursements from mess operations, historical property leases, payments for park damages, and special-use fees for funding; (5) non-cost-recovery accounts receive funding from various donations and cooperating associations that operate bookstores on park premises; (6) the associations provide a variety of in-park services related to park themes and construct facilities that support concession services; (7) significant discrepancies exist between NPS and individual park financial data on the amount of funds in special accounts established by concessioners; (8) the actual amount of money in the special fund accounts is several million dollars higher than reported by NPS; (9) NPS attributes some of these discrepancies to inaccurate tracking of concessioners' accounts; and (10) all but one of the expenditures from the special fund accounts were for authorized purposes.

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