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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

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(Photo courtesy National Park Service)

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