National Parks Have A Long To-Do List But Can’t Cover The Repair Costs

Source: Nathan Rott, NPR, Morning Edition, March 8, 2016

…..Joshua Tree National Park, like most of the 409 areas managed by the National Park Service, gets the bulk of its money from Congress. It’s appropriated year by year, and in recent years usually comes to about $3 billion annually. Entrance fees, philanthropy and concession sales bring in more money to the park system, but National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis says it’s not enough. That much money may have covered the tab for the park system years ago, but not anymore.

When the money’s tight, some jobs don’t get done — and those jobs start to pile up. Today, the total backlog of needed maintenance at U.S. national parks is $11.9 billion. That backlog includes $500 million in needed repairs at Yosemite National Park, $100 million of which is considered critical. Grand Canyon National Park needs $330 million, due largely to outstanding wastewater and water system upgrades. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which saw a record 15 million visitors last year, needs $478 million to help address the wear and tear from all of those drivers…….