The National Park Service (NPS) manages more than 400 national park units—iconic landscapes, historic and cultural sites, trails, military battlegrounds, monuments, and memorials—throughout the country. As a result of aging facilities, strain on resources caused by increased visitation at many park units, and inconsistent annual funding, NPS has been unable to keep pace with park repairs. Based on 2017 data, the agency estimates it would cost $11.6 billion to address its maintenance backlog. New bi-partisan federal legislation to address deferred maintenance in our National Parks has been introduced in both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. The Senate bill is called “Restore Our Parks Act” (S. 500) and the House bill is called “Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act” (H.R. 1225).
The bills would direct federal funds for five consecutive years to help address deferred maintenance within our national parks and public lands. The bills are supported by the Washington Trails Association (WTA), the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Pew Charitable Trusts, and the National Wildlife Federation — among others — and the Washington Trust has also now officially endorsed the legislation.
To read about the specifics of the bills, check out these factsheets:
June 2019 update!
We’re happy to report that on June 26, 2019, in a 36-2 vote, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 1225, the “Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.” This bipartisan legislation has garnered over 290 co-sponsors, and we are thrilled that 9 out of 10 of Washington’s Congressional delegation have signed on the bill, including Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck. Meanwhile, the companion bill in the Senate, S. 500, is also showing strong bipartisan support, and we thank Senator Patty Murray for her recent sponsorship. Please take a moment to thank your members of Congress for sponsoring the bill!