Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

National Parks Face $11B Maintenance Backlog

by Countable | 1.9.18

What’s the story?

A recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that the National Park Service "is grappling with $11.3 billion in deferred maintenance at the more than 400 sites it manages."

"Roads are crumbling, trails are blocked, buildings are deteriorating, and water and sewer pipes are leaking."

Why does it matter?

"Years of inconsistent congressional funding have made it difficult for NPS to make all of the needed repairs, which means the agency has had to postpone less critical maintenance," according to the report.

But the name of the 2017 study suggests a possible boon to paying down the repair backlog: "Restoring Parks, Creating Jobs: How Infrastructure Restoration in the National Park System Can Create or Support Jobs." The report found that "110,169 jobs could be created or supported by investing in infrastructure and preservation projects that are on NPS’ complete deferred maintenance list.”

The Trump administration, however, is looking into ways to slash the agency's discretionary budget by 13 percent and shrink its workforce by more than 1,200 employees.

To offset the $11 billion maintenance backlog, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has proposed raising the entrance fees at America’s busiest national parks to $75 per car, up from the current rate of $25 to $30.

What do you think?

How should the maintenance backlog be addressed? Should Congress increase NPS’ budget? Should national parks raise their fees? Have you experienced crumbling roads and blocked trails at your favorite park? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your comments below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo courtesy National Park Service)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(36)
  • Pat
    01/09/2018
    ···

    Our national parks are extremely important for the mental and physical health of our nation. During Trump’s campaign he promised to fund infrastructure repair, which should include national parks. If we can’t fund our national parks why are we even talking about funding a border wall? This is not good prioritizing.

    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bernie
    01/09/2018
    ···

    Every issue has to become Trump is an Ogre. What about the 8 years of nothing that Obama did as steward to the national parks? This didn’t happen overnight and last time I remember he spent a Trillion dollars on “infrastructure”. Yet somehow we are a few billion dollars short? Apparently his union buddies (who kicked back a percentage) were more important than the divine and Elysian national parks. Here is an idea. Public lands are now available for oil and gas exploration. Take a percentage of that for national park maintenance when they start actively drilling.

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Charlotte
    01/09/2018
    ···

    Trumps idea again favors the rich. The National Parks are for EVERYONE!! How about creating more jobs that are actually needed. Oh by the way, all those Latin Americans that he wants deported are ready, willing, and able to do those jobs unlike most Americans!!

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • C
    01/09/2018
    ···

    Our national parks are true national treasures. Surely their maintenance is on the “to do” list to “Make America Great” Or was that just a nonsense slogan to rile up the hoy poly while you reduced taxes for your donors? Do you know we can see you?

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • RadicalModerate
    01/09/2018
    ···

    John Katko. National parks are more important than military bases. Please fund them accordingly.

    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
  • Azrael
    01/09/2018
    ···

    We the people know all of this and have for years So why the f is anyone even dreaming about using tax dollars to build a useless border wall? Dumb 💩 must stop now We just gave all our infrastructure money to the richest 1percent and corporations Disgusting how the rich old white boys destroyed our country for money Someone remind them they can’t take it with them and a general rule for inherited money, it’s gone within one generation

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • MIKAL
    01/09/2018
    ···

    PREPARE for the Trumpublicans to put a “FOR SALE” sign on all public property... FIRST they will privatize the NPS because it will be “too expensive”... they will blame the NPS for poor management... not themselves for not funding.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sheryl
    01/10/2018
    ···

    If more people really grasped that they OWN public parks, public highways, public buildings and seashores then they might practice good stewardship. When will we have a monthly day of volunteerism? We must bring back both the carrot and the stick to encourage better behavior among the masses.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Neal
    01/09/2018
    ···

    If we are really so far behind, we should not be slashing the budget. National parks is one thing that I think the federal government needs to fund adequately.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Marcelluswallus
    01/09/2018
    ···

    It’d be sweeet if we could stop filling the pockets of the wealthy and pissing our tax money away on useless bullshit and actually fix our own country and help our own people. I know that’s a realllllly weird thing to think about but, fuck. This is insane.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • BeStrong
    01/09/2018
    ···

    We largely, live in a world divorced from nature and our children’s lives follow our own. There is nothing more grounding than a visit to one of our National American treasures. We are custodians of these places, and as such we must raise our voices to protect them. It is challenging to see how Mr Zinke could stand up for our parks when I’m sure that Mr Zinke never stood foot in a national park, unless it was at the side of an accessor. Raise your voice. Call and email your representatives. And Vote. #Vote2018 #Vote2020 #StopTheDrilling/Mining

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Diane
    01/09/2018
    ···

    It has been said that national parks are America’s greatest contribution to the world. I believe that from a conservation standpoint. It is hard to reconcile the wealth transfer to the billionaire kleptocracy while this great resource of the people crumbles. We must fund our national lands infrastructure and secure this magnificent resource for our future generations! No mining, oil & gas extraction, exploitation by corporations for profit! Resist!!!!

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Gerald
    01/10/2018
    ···

    Raising the admittance rate from $25 to $75 for parks is shutting the breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon from many Poor Americans. They are entitled to see it. It is their right. The traditional family vacation trek out west stopping to see Yellowstone, etc. would be unaffordable to many. You could have kept just 1% more of the corporate tax cut you shoveled to your friends, paid for all, the maintenance, reduced admittance rates, and added your great leaders face to Mt. Rushmore. No, now you demand 18 billion to build an ego driven wall along the southern border but want to shut off the poor from national parks. So thoughtful, so compassionate, so Republican.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • John
    01/09/2018
    ···

    The National Park system is a gift to all people by the American people. It protects nature. It restores the soul. It is necessary for the health of the Earth. Give it the money needed. Get the money from raising taxes on big business & the rich & begin taxing religious institutions. And, give Rinke a job cleaning out outhouse pits. In fact, make the entire 45 gang do that.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Linda
    01/10/2018
    ···

    Dear Texas politicians: Keep America Great by funding national park maintenance, not a wall. And keep your hands off Alaska’s Bristol Bay Wilderness while you are at it.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Judy
    01/09/2018
    ···

    If the current administration had their way, they would put them all up for sale. These havens of our heritage and humanity must be preserved! If this administration can increase our deficit by trillions, they need to preserve these lands. We do not need a Border Wall and definitely do not need to fund this administration’s working vacation spots every week or month. So much of our tax dollars have been wasted by this group of greedy socialites! Americans need to wake up and realize the importance of caring for our country!

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ticktock
    01/09/2018
    ···

    Why fund public lands maintenance? If we actually pay for the services that we demand of the government we will not be able to provide tax cuts for those who need tax cuts the least and the huge corporations and the wealthiest 1% will do what stop buying and investing and live off their wealth? Let’s pay for few required services and provide greater tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest of the 1%.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bernadette
    01/09/2018
    ···

    The maintenance backlog should be part of improving infrastructure and creating jobs.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ed
    01/09/2018
    ···

    Close them.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Donna
    01/09/2018
    ···

    One of Teddy Roosevelt's greatest accomplishments was the creation of the system of national parks in this country. They are not only a tourist destination for Americans and foreign visitors, they are an important part of the ecosystem and environment of the US. They support animal and plant life essential to human life and need to be protected and maintained. Raising entry fees to obscene levels will not solve the maintenance issues they face. A portion of the entry fees collected are already supposed to remain in the local parks for maintenance, by law. The NPS recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding with record numbers of visitors throughout the system - 330 million in 2016. If every park charged an average of $20/car and you assume there are four visitors/car, the entry fees collected throughout the system were $1.65B. By law, 80% of that money is retained by the park for the maintenance programs being discussed here - a total of $1.32B. Where has all that money gone? Instead of raising the fees to a level that will prevent most Americans from enjoying their national heritage, shouldn't the government figure out where the current money is being wasted? I could certainly do a lot with $1.32B.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share