The National Park Service will receive over $50 million to address the backlog of maintenance projects across the national park system.
According to the Department of the Interior, the NPS Centennial Challenge Program and Congress is chipping in $20 million to augment $33 million raised by various NP partner organizations like Yellowstone Forever and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
The donations, spread across the national park system, will be used to address “deferred maintenance” and fund research projects.
The national park system has an estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog
The announcement came from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) over the weekend in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, according to a DOI press release:
“Our national parks span twelve time zones and attract more than 330 million visitors every year. Some locations, like Rocky Mountain National Park, attract millions of visitors alone. This puts an incredible stress on the aging infrastructure at our parks and thanks to Centennial Grants and the generosity of public-private partners, we are able to distribute funds to rebuild our parks,” said Secretary Zinke. “Using public-private partnerships to help address the deferred maintenance backlog remains a priority for the Department and the Trump Administration. Park infrastructure includes trails, signage, restrooms, lodges, roads, bridges and waterlines. These funds will help us continue to provide a world-class experience to visitors and ensure that these amazing places are around for future generations.”
“Today, I stood alongside Secretary Zinke as he announced critical funding grants for Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park,” said Senator Cory Gardner. “We must continue to be good stewards of our National Parks and protect these treasures for future generations. I want to thank Secretary Zinke for highlighting a crown jewel of Colorado’s public lands, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the dedicated Park employees that care for this land every day.”
“Many of the national parks that Americans treasure today would simply not exist without the strong partnerships and philanthropy that have benefited the national park idea for over a century,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “The Centennial Challenge program continues that proud tradition by matching dollars from Congress with generous donations from dedicated partners to make high-impact improvements in parks.”