Press Releases

Today, U.S. Sens. Mar R. Warner (D-VA),  Rob Portman (R-OH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) highlighted a new National Park Service (NPS) study which shows that in 2019, visitor spending in communities near national parks resulted in a $41.7 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 340,500 jobs. The senators’ Restore Our Parks Act legislation, currently being debated on the Senate floor, will help address the more than $12 billion backlog in long-delayed maintenance projects at the NPS to ensure this economic benefit continues for communities near national parks across the country. The measure, which is included in the broader Great American Outdoors Act legislation, will provide up to $6.5 billion over five years to address priority deferred maintenance needs at our national parks.

“Now, more than ever, we need our parks. Families are eager to spend time outdoors together as the economy reopens across the country. This new National Parks Service study underscores the importance of our national parks to our economy and job creation around the country. My bill with Senators Warner, King, and Alexander, the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act, will help rebuild our national parks infrastructure to ensure that folks can continue to visit and bolster the surrounding communities for generations to come. The Restore Our Parks Act will address the more than $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at our national park sites throughout the country, including the more than $100 million maintenance backlog in Ohio’s eight national parks. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation when it comes to a vote next week,” said Portman.

“It’s no secret that national parks serve as important economic engines for our local communities,” said Warner.  “In fact, today’s new report only emphasizes the important financial role national park sites play in the Commonwealth. Last year, Virginia’s local treasures helped to support and create 17,300 jobs – an increase of 1,300 from 2018. In addition, we saw an increase in economic activity right here in our own backyard, with 22.8 million visitors who helped contribute $984 million dollars in added value to Virginia’s economy. With the Senate now expected to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act, we are one step closer to protecting and preserving these irreplaceable resources for years to come.”

“Last year, national parks across the country welcomed 398 million visitors – including the record breaking 12 million visitors at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee,” said Alexander. “Although visitors to national parks contributed nearly $42 billion to the economy last year, many visitors were shocked to find roads, picnic areas, trails, campgrounds, and visitor centers in bad shape or even closed.  The Restore Our Parks Act will cut the national park maintenance backlog in half and will continue to support the 340,000 jobs that depend on visitors coming to our 419 national parks.”

“Each year, Acadia National Park brings millions of people to our state – and in addition to exploring one of the most beautiful parks in the world, these visitors spend their vacations frequenting Maine shops, dining at Maine restaurants, and enjoying the wide variety of recreation Maine has to offer,” said King. “Today’s study is further proof that national parks are a major contributor to regional economies – and yet another example of why we need to take care of these natural treasures. Our bipartisan bill invests in these lands, and these investments will yield economic and cultural benefits today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.”

Earlier this year, Sen. Warner joined several of his colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act. Notably, the legislation includes Sens. Warner, Portman, Alexander and King’s Restore Our Parks Act, legislation to help address the backlog in long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service (NPS), including over $100 million in deferred maintenance at Ohio’s eight national park sites.