Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R), an avid hiker, biker, and champion of national parks, burnished his love of America’s public lands during a July visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 50 square miles of rolling forest, waterfalls, and trails nestled between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. He came to get a closer look at the $45 million in needed repairs at the popular National Park Service (NPS) site, which encompasses part of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The popular park attracted 2.2 million visitors last year.
Cuyahoga Valley is one of eight national parks in Ohio that together require more than $100 million in repairs and upkeep—just a fraction of the estimated $11.6 billion maintenance backlog plaguing the National Park System as a whole.
To help fix our parks, Congress must approve dedicated funding, and Sen. Portman is among lawmakers taking the lead on that: He sponsored bipartisan legislation, the Restore Our Parks Act (S. 3172), introduced in June, that would provide up to $6.5 billion over five years to address the most critical needs in national park sites across the country. A companion bill was introduced in the House, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 6510). Both measures have a growing number of bipartisan cosponsors and support from the Trump administration.
Marcia Argust directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ campaign to restore America’s parks.