Interior Department claims major investment in U.S. parks


    By Russ and Tiña De Maris

    In a “good news, bad news” scenario, the U.S. Interior Department says America’s national parks are looking at a $11.6 billion backlog in maintenance and repairs. The good news? The agency has approved spending to take care of 2.2 percent of the need.

    Under the banner headline, “Trump Administration Announces $256 Million in Construction Projects Approved for National Parks”, a news release from the Interior Department touts “repairs and rehabilitation for aging National Park Service Infrastructure.” “Roads, bridges, trails, water systems and visitor centers—even bathrooms, campgrounds and drinking fountains—are all part of this critical, but often unnoticed, 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.”

    Will any of your favorite parks be part of this massive effort? Here’s the complete list (in alphabetical order) of who gets what money, and what for.

    Cape Cod National Seashore – Upgrade Visitor Access at Herring Cove Beach. – Mass. – $5.4 million
    Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Replace Old/Failing Primary Electrical Distribution Infrastructure. – N.M. – $3.4 million
    Channel Islands National Park – Replace Anacapa Stiff-Leg Derrick Crane with Two-Crane System. – Calif. – $3.9 million
    Death Valley National Park – Restore Flood-Damaged Historic Scotty’s Castle Visitor Center. – Calif. – $5.3 million
    Fort Point National Historic Site – Repair Leaks in North Barbette Tier and Repoint Brick Masonry at Fort Point. – Calif.– $5.9 million
    George Washington Memorial Parkway – Repair Arlington Memorial Bridge. – D.C. – $18.2 million
    Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve – Construct Electrical Intertie to Falls Creek Hydro Project – Renewable Energy & Sustainability. – Ark. – $7.5 million
    Glacier National Park – Rebuild/Reconstruct Sperry Chalet. – Mont. – $12 million
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park – North Shore Road Monetary Settlement. – N.C. – $35.2 million
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Rehabilitate Elkmont Waste Water System. – Tenn. – $2.5 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
    Lowell National Historical Park – Replace Unsafe and Inefficient Windows of Boott Mill Museum. – Mass. – $4.1 million
    Mammoth Cave National Park – Reconstruct Unsafe Cave Trail Along Grand Avenue Tour Between Snowball and Grand Central. – Ky. – $13.8 million
    Mount Rushmore National Memorial – Replace Plaza Paver System and Rehabilitate Visitor Center. – S.D. – $8.9 million
    National Capital Regional Office – Rehabilitate National Mall and Memorial Parks, US Park Police, and Regional Office Campus. – D.C. – $11.8 million
    National Mall and Memorial Parks – Restore Jefferson Roof and Portico. – D.C. – $21.3 million
    Old Santa Fe Trail Building – Rehab Building for Seismic, Rehab Exterior Envelope and Historic Elements. – N.M. – $2.8 million
    Statue Of Liberty National Monument – Stabilize Ellis Island Seawall – Phase III. – N.Y. – $33 million
    Valley Forge National Historical Park – Rehabilitate Visitor Center for Access, Safety, and Energy Efficiency. – Pa. – $10 million
    Vicksburg National Military Park – Stabilize Railroad Redoubt Earthworks. – Miss. – $5.9 million
    Yellowstone National Park – Rehab and Seismic Retrofit of Mammoth Hotel Guest Room Wings. – Wyo. – $21.2 million
    Yosemite National Park – Rehabilitate Wawona Wastewater Treatment Plant. – Calif. – $21.5 million


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    Billy Bob Thorton

    Add to that 1/4 of the presidential salary, generously donated to the NPS, and it is the most progress in a very long time. Things are looking better for the NPS.