By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Recognizing that U.S. National Parks are in need of an injection of cash to handle deferred maintenance backlogs, it was of interest that Ryan Zinke, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, appeared before the press to announce funding to help cover the backlogs.
Zinke made the reveal July 22, using Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park as a backdrop. A total of $53 million is headed out to 29 states, to handle needs in 42 of America’s parks. Of the funds, $20 million will be taxpayer provided by Congressional allocation. The balance of $33 million will be made by contributions from non-governmental organizations. The money will make improvements to trails, enhance visitor access, and help restore park buildings.
By comparison, the most recent U.S. National Park Service-provided statistics (September 2016) show the real needs of the nation’s natural gems:
Total deferred maintenance for parks: $11.331 Billion
Allocated as follows:
Paved roads and structures: $5.668 Billion
(bridges, tunnels, paved parking areas, paved roadways)
All other facilities: $5.663 Billion
(campgrounds, buildings, housing, trails, waste and water systems, unpaved roads and parking areas, dams, and more)
The current White House budget proposal would cut $400 million from the National Park Service for fiscal year 2018.