Hill Support Growing for Legislation to Fix National Parks

More lawmakers visiting sites to highlight overdue repair needs

Hill Support Growing for Legislation to Fix National Parks
Mark Warner
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) pays a February visit to the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy, Virginia. Chief Interpreter Timothy Sims pointed out the site’s repair needs, which total $1.4 million.
Courtesy of Senator Mark Warner

Historic walls in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Railroad tracks in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What do these parks have in common? They’re among the hundreds of National Park Service (NPS) sites with overdue repair needs that are compromising resources and the visitor experience.

Now, however, momentum is building in Congress for passage of legislation to provide funding for deferred maintenance across the park system, and numerous members of Congress are touring parks in their states to raise awareness of the need to fix these sites. Over half of park assets—from trails, historic buildings, visitor centers, and roads to other infrastructure such as water, sewer, and electrical systems—are in disrepair. The estimated cost of making all overdue repairs is $11.9 billion.

Since Feb. 14, when a bipartisan group of representatives and senators introduced bills (H.R. 1225 and S. 500) to restore our parks, one-third of senators and over one-third of House members from both sides of the aisle have signed on as co-sponsors. The White House  has also expressed support for the legislation.

That enthusiasm reflects the will of the voters: A poll by The Pew Charitable Trusts found that more than 75 percent of Americans back the proposal to provide up to $6.5 billion over five years to address deferred maintenance issues.  

More than 3,000 local elected official, organizations, and businesses, including veterans’ groups, state tourism societies, hotel and restaurant associations, contractors, and recreation industry companies, have endorsed the legislation.

Here are some photos of the bills’ sponsors—those leading the legislative charge to get NPS sites repaired—learning about the maintenance issues in their states.

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

Parks
Parks
Article

Top 5 Reasons to Support Fixing National Parks

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Article

Members of Congress are putting investment in national park infrastructure back on the legislative table.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park : Deferred Maintenance
1min 37sec
Yellowstone landscape
Yellowstone landscape
Fact Sheet

National Park Case Studies

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Fact Sheet

The National Park Service needs almost $12 billion to eliminate its backlog of deferred maintenance. The Pew Charitable Trusts' campaign to restore America's parks has created a series of case studies highlighting examples of repairs needed at our nation's treasures.

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.