Sen. Portman Examines $45M Maintenance Backlog at Ohio National Park

Sponsor of bipartisan bill seeks funding for repairs at Cuyahoga Valley, parks nationwide

Sen. Portman Examines $45M Maintenance Backlog at Ohio National Park
Rob Portman
Eric Semple (left), Cuyahoga Valley’s maintenance chief, Sen. Portman, and park Superintendent Craig Kenkel discuss the $176,000 in maintenance needed at the park’s Brecksville Station.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

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.

Rob Portman
Semple shows Sen. Portman (foreground) a section of track in need of repair along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. NPS owns and maintains the tracks and needs $4.7 million to fix the railroad system.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

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.

Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman and his wife, Jane (left), Semple, Kenkel, and Deb Yandala, CEO of Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, visit a successful bridge replacement project along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The towpath, a central feature of the park, needs over $4 million in repairs.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Marcia Argust directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ campaign to restore America’s parks.

Cuyahoga trail
Cuyahoga trail
Fact Sheet

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Fact Sheet

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, covering 50 square miles in northeastern Ohio, is one of America's newest and smallest national parks. In the 1960s, communities in the Cuyahoga River Valley that were concerned about development pushed Congress to set aside remaining open space as a national recreation area. Lawmakers designated these tracts of forest, wetlands, and farmland as a national park in 2000. In addition to hiking and wildlife viewing, visitors can ride a scenic railroad, hear live music, attend an art exhibit, play golf, and ski. Unfortunately, the park has $42 million in deferred maintenance, including repairs to historic farm structures.

Dayton
Dayton
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Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

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Fact Sheet

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

In 1903, two brothers from Dayton, Ohio, made their mark on American history by launching the first airplane into a sustained flight in North Carolina. The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park shares the stories of Orville and Wilbur Wright and another native son, Paul Laurence Dunbar, who drew international acclaim for his poetry, novels, and plays on civil rights and other themes.

Gettysburg maintenance
Assateague Island maintenance
Data Visualization

National Park Deferred Maintenance Needs

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Data Visualization

National Park Deferred Maintenance Needs

With record crowds contributing to wear and tear and federal funding unreliable, the National Park Service is struggling to keep pace with repairs, estimated at $11.6 billion in fiscal year 2017. Use this tool, based on NPS data, to learn more about deferred maintenance at NPS sites across the county, in your state, and at your favorite park.