Maintenance Needs for Trails, Visitors Centers Grows from Last Year – Congress Needs to Boost Park Funding
WASHINGTON – The following is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, following the National Park Service’s announcement today that its Fiscal Year 2015 deferred maintenance backlog reached $11.93 billion nationwide, a $440 million increase from the previous year.
“A nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog is further proof that the National Park Service does not have the funding and resources it needs to protect America’s favorite places.
“And this comes at a time when record-breaking crowds are visiting our national parks. This is the centennial year of the National Park Service. If Congress doesn’t make our parks a national priority in the federal budget now, then when? While Congress did begin to reverse years of declining funding for our national parks with its latest spending bill, the reality is that years of underfunding have significantly harmed our parks.
“Our parks preserve and protect some of America’s most treasured natural, historic and cultural sites. We must work together to ensure parks have the funding and resources they need to fulfill that mission. The best gift Congress can give to the Park Service on its 100th anniversary is to make sure this year’s budget includes significant increases to the agency’s maintenance and operations accounts. The Park Service needs these resources to tackle the backlog, fill vacant ranger positions, and put parks on the best path toward another century of service.”
Examples of maintenance backlog:
Santa Fe National Historic Trail, NM: The Old Santa Fe Trails Building, a National Historic Landmark, needs major work to replace and repair the exterior walls damaged by water and pest intrusion.
Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA: The Visitor Center needs to be rehabilitated for energy efficiency, safety and ADA access. Without rehabilitation, the center will continue to waste energy and tax payer dollars, provide inefficient light for visitors and the roof will continue to leak.
Cape Cod National Seashore, MA: A dozen structures need to be demolished that pose a danger to the public because they contain hazardous building materials and were deemed unnecessary and unsafe. The completion of this project decreases operational and maintenance needs of the National Park Service.
About National Parks Conservation Association:
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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