WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) to address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service (NPS) now has the support of over 100 groups, adding momentum to a bill that has 32 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and is supported by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the Trump Administration. The Restore Our Parks Act passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on a bipartisan 19-4 vote earlier this week. The bill will now be referred to the full Senate.
National Association of Counties: “Our National Park System serves as the crown jewel of our national conservation legacy. We must ensure that future generations can see and appreciate our rich natural history, and to learn more about the people and lands that have shaped us as a nation. Counties urge Congress to enact S. 3172 to protect our national parks, and ensure we continue to provide the best outdoor recreation and conservation experience in the world.”
National Parks Conservation Association: “The importance of preserving our history, culture and public lands is something we can all agree on. Tackling the deferred maintenance in our national parks is not a political issue but an American one, and all who are supporting this important legislation recognize that. We commend the dedication and leadership of Senators Portman, Warner, Alexander and King for working to push this important bill through congress, and making a strong investment in our national parks.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts: “Key committees in the Senate and House of Representatives have given their bipartisan stamp of approval to legislation to fix our aging and deteriorating national parks. With strong bipartisan support for our parks not only on Capitol Hill but in communities across the nation, Congress should act now to get the legislation over the finish line this year.”
US Travel: “Our national parks are a huge attraction for visitors from all over the world. Not only are our national parks environmental treasures, but they are also an incredible economic engine for our country. In 2017 alone, the national parks generated $18 billion in economic demand, supporting thousands of local jobs and businesses. The Restore Our Parks Act, would help protect our National Parks for future generations by investing in their maintenance. We applaud Sen. Portman and bill supporters for ensuring our parks can be accessed and enjoyed well into the future.”
America Outdoors Association: “On behalf of hundreds of outfitters who are members of our respective organizations, we are writing to express our support for S. 3172, The Restore Our Parks Act. The fund established by this Act will cover about half of the $11.6 billion in deferred National Park maintenance of trails, visitor centers, campgrounds, water and sewer, and visitor facilities backlogs. It will create a dedicated fund that may be used by the NPS year after year without further appropriation to enable the planning and completion of multi-year projects.”
The Outdoor Industry Association: “OIA applauds this bipartisan effort to solve the National Park Service backlog issue and appreciates the dedication of Senators Portman, Warner, Alexander and King to this effort. The backlog impacts the recreation economy and Americans’ ability to explore and enjoy their public lands. As we know, and passage of bills like the Restore Our Parks Act out of committee shows, the health and vitality of America’s public lands system is a bipartisan issue that unites us. We look forward to continued progress and appreciate the Senate bill Sponsors’ focus on the critical infrastructure that supports the growing $887 billion outdoor recreation economy.”
The Corps Network: “We applaud the Senate’s work on this bipartisan legislation to address the multi-billion maintenance backlog plaguing the National Park Service. We welcome support of the Secretary of the Interior to move these issues forward and bring them much needed attention.”
National Trust for Historic Preservation: “We strongly endorse the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act (S. 3172) introduced by Senators Portman, Warner, Alexander, and King that we believe makes a substantial and meaningful investment in our national parks. Further, we are pleased the legislation provides dedicated funding financed by unobligated federal mineral revenues in such a way that allocations to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Historic Preservation Fund are not impacted. The National Trust is a strong supporter of both these programs and believes that both should receive the dedicated funding they have long been promised.”
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks: “The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks supports S. 3172, the Restore Our Parks Act, which is a bipartisan effort led by Senators Portman, Warner, Alexander, and King to establish a fund to address the deferred maintenance backlog of the National Park Service.”
The following groups support the Restore Our Parks Act: The Pew Charitable Trusts, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, U.S. Travel Association, National Association of Counties, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Planning Association, Outdoor Industry Association, The Mission Continues, Public Lands Alliance, Vista Outdoor, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, Southeast Tourism Society, The Corps Network, RV Industry Association, Land Improvement Contractors of America, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, American Forests , American Hiking Society , International Inbound Travel Association , National Park Hospitality Association , Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Student Conservation Association , United States Tour Operators Association, Western States Tourism Policy Council, National Association of Women in Construction, American Segmental Bridge Institute, Outdoor Research, American Foundry Society, American Mountain Guides Association, The Chickasaw Nation, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Skal International USA, National Asphalt Pavement Association, The Associated General Contractors of America, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, American Cultural Resources Association, American Anthropological Association, Society for American Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Parks& Resorts, Historic Tours of America, Hornblower Cruisers and Events, Forever Resorts, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Institute of Architects, American Battlefield Trust, National Marine Manufacturing Association, Sierra Club, Evangelical Environmental Network, New Mexico Business Coalition, Friends of Acadia, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Atomic Heritage Foundation, Friends of Fort McHenry, Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, The Shenandoah National Park Trust, Timucuan Parks Foundation, Voyageurs National Park Association, Washington’s National Park Fund, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Orange County Taxpayers Association, Montana Contractors' Association, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Conservation Northwest, Dade Historic Trust, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Maine Tourism Association, Maine Innkeepers Association, Maine Restaurant Association, Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association, Alger County Chamber of Commerce, REI, Greater Munising Bay Partnership for Commerce Development, Munising Downtown Development Authority, Raton Chamber of Commerce, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Cast Metals Association, Associated Builders and Contractors - Northern Ohio Chapter, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555, Visit Bend, Central Oregon LandWatch, Columbia Pacific Building Trades, Texas Society of Architects, Associated Heating-Plumbing-Cooling Contractors of Texas, Washington's National Park Fund, Washington Wild, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Wisconsin Counties Association, Friends of the Mississippi River, Recreation Northwest, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, American Society of Landscape Architects – Florida, Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters, Orange County Business Council, North Orange Council Chamber of Commerce, Washington Trails Association, California Asphalt Pavement Association, The Conservation Alliance , California Parks Company, Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Fort Sumter Tours, Redwood Parks Company, Gettysburg Tours, TRF Concession Specialists of Florida, Grand Teton Lodge Company, Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, The Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau.
Due to years of chronic underfunding, NPS has deferred maintenance for a year or more on visitor centers, rest stops, trails and campgrounds in Virginia, as well as transportation infrastructure operated by NPS such as Blue Ridge and George Washington Memorial Parkways. In the last year, the maintenance backlog at Park Service sites in Virginia grew by $250 million, to over a billion dollars and the Commonwealth now ranks third among all states in total deferred maintenance, trailing only California and the District of Columbia. That figure includes roughly $80 million of overdue maintenance at Shenandoah National Park, one of the crown jewels of our nation’s park system.
Virginia contains 22 national parks and affiliated areas that are spread throughout the Commonwealth. In addition, the Park Service maintains over 120 National Historic Landmarks throughout Virginia, including Mount Vernon, Montpelier, Monticello, and the State Capitol Building. In 2017, over 24 million individuals from around the world visited national parks in Virginia, spending over $1 billion. National parks in Virginia helped support more than 15,000 jobs and contributed over $1.4 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy.
For more information on the Restore Our Parks Act or for a list of NPS operated sites in Virginia, click here.