U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced more than $256 million in approved funding to rebuild “critical” national park infrastructure, according to a news release.
“Dire maintenance and repair needs that contribute to the $11.6 billion backlog currently facing the nation’s national parks,” according to the release.
Roads, bridges, trails, water systems, and visitor centers—even bathrooms, campgrounds, and drinking fountains—are all part of this infrastructure framework.
In 2017, 330 million people visited the 417 NPS sites across the country. The NPS completed over $650 million in maintenance and repair work in Fiscal Year 2017, but “aging facilities, high visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010.”
“President Donald Trump is a builder, he loves to build and he loves our National Parks, so it is a natural fit that the administration is dedicating so much attention to rebuilding our aging parks infrastructure. These approved projects are more than just line items on an Excel spreadsheet. They have a tangible effect on a person’s experience when visiting our nation’s parks,” said Secretary Zinke.
“Today’s announcement is another step toward eliminating the more than $11 billion in maintenance facing the National Park Service. It’s another step toward prioritizing infrastructure because it is an investment that bolsters local economies and gateway communities. And it is another step in prioritizing access for all Americans to our public lands.”
Approved Fiscal Year 2018 National Park Service construction projects:
George Washington Memorial Parkway – Repair Arlington Memorial Bridge. – D.C. – $18.2 million
National Mall and Memorial Parks – Restore Jefferson Roof and Portico. – D.C. – $21.3 million
Lowell National Historical Park – Replace Unsafe and Inefficient Windows of Boott Mill Museum. – Mass. – $4.1 million
Cape Cod National Seashore – Upgrade Visitor Access at Herring Cove Beach. – Mass. – $5.4 million
Yellowstone National Park – Rehab and Seismic Retrofit of Mammoth Hotel Guest Room Wings. – Wyo. – $21.2 million
Fort Point National Historic Site – Repair Leaks in North Barbette Tier and Repoint Brick Masonry at Fort Point. – Calif.– $5.9 million
Channel Islands National Park – Replace Anacapa Stiff-Leg Derrick Crane with Two-Crane System. – Calif. – $3.9 million
Mount Rushmore National Memorial – Replace Plaza Paver System and Rehabilitate Visitor Center. – S.D. – $8.9 million
Vicksburg National Military Park – Stabilize Railroad Redoubt Earthworks. – Miss. – $5.9 million
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve – Construct Electrical Intertie to Falls Creek Hydro Project – Renewable Energy & Sustainability. – Ark. – $7.5 million
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Rehabilitate Elkmont Waste Water System. – Tenn. – $2.5 million
Valley Forge National Historical Park – Rehabilitate Visitor Center for Access, Safety, and Energy Efficiency. – Pa. – $10 million
Old Santa Fe Trail Building – Rehab Building for Seismic, Rehab Exterior Envelope and Historic Elements. – N.M. – $2.8 million
Lake Mead National Recreation Area – Replace Water Intake Barge with Shoreline Wells at Katherine Landing to Ensure Reliable Water Supply. – Ariz. – $1.9 million
Death Valley National Park – Restore Flood-Damaged Historic Scotty’s Castle Visitor Center. – Calif. – $5.3 million
Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Replace Old/Failing Primary Electrical Distribution Infrastructure. – N.M. – $3.4 million
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – North Shore Road Monetary Settlement. – N.C. – $35.2 million
Mammoth Cave National Park – Reconstruct Unsafe Cave Trail Along Grand Avenue Tour Between Snowball and Grand Central. – Ky. – $13.8 million
Statue Of Liberty National Monument – Stabilize Ellis Island Seawall – Phase III. – N.Y. – $33 million
National Capital Regional Office – Rehabilitate National Mall and Memorial Parks, US Park Police, and Regional Office Campus. – D.C. – $11.8 million
Yosemite National Park – Rehabilitate Wawona Wastewater Treatment Plant. – Calif. – $21.5 million
Glacier National Park – Rebuild/Reconstruct Sperry Chalet. – Mont. – $12 million
In the end, we only conserve what we love.
We only love what we understand.
We will understand what we are taught.
—Baba Dioum, Sengalese poet