The maintenance bill for America’s national parks is essentially twice what its Congressional funding allows.
It seems that we just can’t stop talking about the National Parks Service only a month into this year. The National Park Service announced that it currently holds a maintenance backlog of $11.93 billion from the fiscal year in 2015. This, essentially, covers maintenance for almost every single national park in the United States.
While funding has come slowly to the National Parks Service over the years, there is hope that with Congress’ bonus $90 million allocation, the service can finally get a slight grip on the maintenance problems in the parks that are not road-related. Recently, “Congress…passed a new highway bill that will provide a $28 million increase for transportation projects in parks for 2016.”
The National Parks Service’s fame is rising this year due to its upcoming centennial celebration, and they have enacted social media campaigns encouraging visitors to take full advantage of the parks both in their own backyards and beyond. This ranges from a photo competition to the use of National Parks passport for some parks.
The National Parks Conservation Association’s President Theresa Pierno recently said,
A nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog is further proof that the National Parks Service does not have the funding and resources it needs to protect America’s favorite places…This is the centennial year of the National Parks Service. If Congress doesn’t make our parks a national priority in the federal budget now, then when?
This sentiment echoes many environmental and conservation groups’ call for maintenance in the parks in order to not only upkeep the natural habitats of species that are rehabilitating, but also the make the park experience more enjoyable overall.