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Sunday, April 2, 2017

National Park Maintenance Squabbles

Above, the backlog at Grand Canyon National Park is estimated to be $321 million. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

President Trump inherited a nearly $12 billion backlog of deferred maintenance of our national parks, but there are those who dispute that amount.

The Arizona Daily Sun reported:

As the National Park Service celebrated its centennial year in 2016, visitation to parks, monuments and other NPS-managed sites nationwide climbed 7 percent over the year before, to 330 million people. But along with that story of positive growth, the agency faces the daunting challenge of addressing $11.9 billion in deferred maintenance. That includes $129 million at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and $371 million at Grand Canyon National Park.  
Now, conservation groups are worried that maintenance backlog is being used as an argument to increase privatization of national parks and as a reason to defund other Interior Department programs to free up money for deferred maintenance. 
President Donald Trump’s latest budget blueprint hints at that thought process. Included in its 12 percent cut to the Department of the Interior, the plan eliminates $120 million used to fund new federal lands acquisition, saying that money will instead be focused on “investing in, and maintaining, existing national parks, refuges and public lands.”

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