Western Reserve Land Conservancy applauds the efforts of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks.
Today, the Subcommittee held a legislative hearing on S. 3172, the Restore Our Parks Act, the first step toward moving the bill forward. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Rob Portman (OH), Mark Warner (VA), Lamar Alexander (TN), and Angus King (ME) earlier this summer to address the backlog of maintenance needs in the country’s national parks. The Restore Our Parks Act would establish the “National Park Service [glossary_exclude]Legacy[/glossary_exclude] Restoration Fund” to reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating existing revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development. This funding would come from 50 percent of all revenues that are not otherwise allocated and deposited into the General Treasury and will not to exceed $1.3 billion each year for the next five years.
The National Park Service estimated that the backlog of maintenance needs totals $ 11.6 billion. Ohio’s national parks maintenance needs are $103.4 million alone. With more than 331 million annual visitors to our National Parks, addressing the maintenance needs of our national parks is long overdue.
“Places like Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which receives over 2.2 million visits, are natural treasures for the people in our community and across the country,” said Rich Cochran, president and CEO of the Land Conservancy. “Our parks provide us with environmental, economic and health benefits. In order to ensure that these assets are open and available for all Americans to enjoy, the National Park Service needs additional maintenance funding. I appreciate the work of Senator Portman and others to find a solution to address the backlog.”