This presentation was part of A Century of Design in the Parks Symposium, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 21-23, 2016.
By Caleb Waters
The National Park Service (NPS) has billions of dollars in backlogged “deferred” maintenance across a diverse asset portfolio. One of the largest challenges is deciding how to allocate the sparse funding. We have tools that help us make data driven decisions, but work does not always happen in a quantitative method. A wide variety of factors determine where the project money is spent. External pressures can dictate constantly changing priorities. Storm events damage facilities and require immediate attention. Administrative flaws at one park can effect funding throughout the NPS. How then do we manage our asset portfolio? This paper identifies the methodology behind planning the budget and prioritizing work at the Flagstaff Area National Monuments (FLAG). It evaluates the process used to seek and prioritize funding requests from initial project development in the field, to entering the data and estimating the project, creating the project in the NPS funding system, having said project reviewed by the regional and Washington offices, receiving notification of funding, planning and compliance, receiving the funds, implementing the project, and reporting outcomes. This paper also looks closely into a few success stories past and ongoing: a 1930s trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument, a Mission 66 Cecil Doty visitor center at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and a historic 1930s residence at Wupatki National Monument. These successes discuss issues including cyclical maintenance and lifecycle management, climate change, use of traditional trades, and sustainability.
Caleb Waters obtained an undergraduate degree in history from Lawrence Sullivan Ross University and a graduate degree in English literature from Northern Arizona University. He works for the National Park Service outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. At the Flagstaff Area National Monuments, Caleb supervises a maintenance and construction staff of 10 permanent employees plus 15 seasonal employees working in preservation through various trades and manages a budget of $1.6 million.