Today, President Donald J. Trump donated his first quarter salary to the National Parks Service (NPS) to help fund the maintenance backlog in America’s historic battlefields. The donation, totaling $78,333, was accepted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg at the daily White House Press briefing.
“President Trump is dedicated to our veterans, our public lands, and keeping his promises, and by donating his salary to the National Park Service to repair our historic battlefields proves his commitment,” Secretary Zinke said. “These historic places tell the story of conflicts that helped shape our country’s history, and they also honor the many men and women who have given their lives in service of this great nation. I’m honored to help the president carry out his love and appreciation for our warriors and land.”
There are 25 sites across the National Park Service that are classified as National Battlefields, National Battlefield Parks, National Military Parks and National Battlefield Sites. Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland, which commemorates the battle that led to President Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, saw over 350,000 visits last year. Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, where the bloodiest battle of the Civil War took place, saw over 1 million visits in 2016.
“The National Park Service is proud and deeply honored by President Trump’s donation to support the preservation of battlefields in the National Park System,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “Philanthropy has been essential to the National Park Service’s mission since its establishment, and this notable contribution will enable the National Park Service to share these remarkable places with more visitors for generations to come.”
Since being confirmed, Secretary Zinke has made it clear that addressing the $12 billion in deferred maintenance across the National Park Service, which includes $229 million for battlefield sites, is one of the top priorities at the Department.