Restoring the Great Lakes In Our National Parks
This report highlights the successful and critical role that the National Park Service plays in restoring the Great Lakes, safeguarding public health, creating jobs, and protecting these special places belonging to all Americans.
National parks are windows to our past, homes to some of our rarest plants and wildlife, and places where every American can go to find inspiration, peace and open space.
Our national parks protect more than 620 miles of Great Lakes shoreline including beautiful estuaries, beaches, dunes, and wetlands. These parks hold tremendous biological, historical, and recreational value to more than six million visitors each year. And these national parks are economic generators for Great Lakes communities. According to the National Park Service, every dollar invested in park operations generates about $10 to local communities, and every two Park Service jobs yields one outside the park.
But our national parks are home to invasive species, falling water levels, eroding shorelines, and contaminated lakes and rivers. The National Park Service is responding to these threats and to the importance of improving Great Lakes water quality with help from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
The GLRI provides the National Park Service with critical funding to respond to ecosystem needs in eight of our Great Lakes parks. To date, more than $18 million of GLRI funding has been allocated to the Park Service, and at a time when operational funding to our national parks has been cut, the GLRI has provided much-needed jobs for both the National Park Service and local communities to clean rivers and streams, remove invasive species, and restore shoreline wetlands.