two children sitting on a dock looking out over a lake with mountains in the distance
Project

Restore America's Parks

Pew’s work to restore America’s parks seeks to raise awareness about the $11.9 billion repair backlog facing the National Park Service (NPS) and implement long-term solutions to address the challenge.

The initiative collaborates with national partner groups, as well as state and local organizations, to effect change with Congress, the administration, and the NPS. Pew believes policymakers should:

  • Ensure that infrastructure initiatives include provisions to address park maintenance.
  • Provide dedicated annual federal funding for national park repairs.
  • Enact innovative policy reforms to ensure that deferred maintenance does not escalate.
  • Provide more highway funding for NPS maintenance needs.
  • Create more opportunities for public-private collaboration and donations to help restore park infrastructure. 
Fact Sheet

Why We Need to Fix Our Parks

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Fact Sheet

The National Park Service (NPS) is over 100 years old, and the infrastructure and facilities at the more than 400 sites it manages nationwide are aging. Add wear and tear from visitors and inconsistent annual funding, and the Park Service can’t keep pace with needed repairs. NPS’s maintenance backlog has grown to an estimated $12 billion, and nearly half of that is for highest-priority assets.

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.

Article

Investing in Overdue Maintenance at National Parks Could Generate 100,000 Jobs

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Article

Addressing the National Park Service’s (NPS’) nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog would create or support more than 100,000 infrastructure-related jobs, a Pew-commissioned analysis by the Cadmus Group found. This number, based on fiscal year 2018 NPS data, is a reminder of the powerful contribution that national parks make to the U.S. economy.

Fire Tower
Fire Tower
Article

Americans Want Congress to Act to Fix National Parks

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Article

Summer brings a big jump in visitors to national parks, along with a reminder of how many repairs are waiting to be addressed at these sites to ensure safe access for current visitors and protection of American history for future generations.

Our Work

Parks
Parks
Speeches & Testimony

Pew Among Hundreds of Groups Asking Congress to Pass Great American Outdoors Act

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Speeches & Testimony

Pew Among Hundreds of Groups Asking Congress to Pass Great American Outdoors Act

The Pew Charitable Trusts is among more than 850 national, regional, state, and local groups urging Congress to support passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which would invest in the repair of aging infrastructure at national parks and public lands.

Article

Report Offers Innovative Ways to Help Fix Our National Parks

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Article

America’s National Park System protects our natural treasures and cultural history while offering ample opportunity for recreation, education, and contemplation—from hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and exploring the country’s origins at Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia to reflecting on the fight for equality at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta.

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.