National Parks need a little love

Roads and trails and buildings in our national parks are deteriorating, and adequate funding to fix that problem remains elusive.

With so many competing demands for federal dollars, the National Parks Service is often a lower priority, especially for repair projects. The result is that despite user fees the backlog of projects at national parks nationwide is $11.49 billion, according to the agency – a staggering sum in an era when Congress is more willing to cut spending than to find ways to invest in infrastructure. This includes work on roads that bring hikers and tourists into the parks.

This problem of crumbling roads, culverts, lodges and eroded trails is not new.

Deferred maintenance work in the park system is chronic and longstanding. It doesn’t take much searching to find news headlines since the early 1990s that referred to our parks system as being “loved to death.” That’s another way of saying that with a growing population the national parks — which encompass some of our nation’s most spectacular places — get so many visitors that they are being worn out.

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