NEW YORK – Members of the New York congressional delegation, New York City lawmakers and conservation groups celebrated President’s Day weekend by calling on Congress to fund nearly $1 billion in deferred maintenance at National Park Service sites across the state.
Marcia Argust, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Restore America’s Parks project, says parks should be a priority in part because many hold treasures of the nation’s history.
“As Congress and the administration are talking about infrastructure and the need to tackle infrastructure reform, national parks need to be part of that discussion,” she states.
The event Saturday took place at the Federal Hall National Memorial – the site where George Washington took the oath of office, and where the nation’s first Congress wrote the Bill of Rights.
The hall stands in need of $1.7 million in repairs. The New York City-based Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site needs nearly $4 million in repairs, and the General Grant National Memorial, also in the city, needs more than $5 million.
Cortney Worrall, northeast regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, says restoring national parks is a critical investment in the nation’s economy.
She points to recent analysis that estimates 110,000 jobs would be created or supported if the deferred maintenance backlog was fully funded.
Worrall adds that almost 10,000 of those jobs would be in New York state.
“Fixing our national parks is not just good for our history, and it’s not just good for protecting these important natural places,” she points out. “Fixing our national parks creates jobs, and it’s good for businesses that rely on park visitors.”
The total cost for backlogged infrastructure repairs – for roads, bridges, trails, campgrounds and water systems – is now more than $11.5 billion nationally.
Worrall says that number pales in comparison to the economic benefits.
National Parks contributed $35 billion to the nation’s economy in 2016 alone.
Feature photo: In 2016 alone, National Park Service sites, such as the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, contributed $35 billion to the U.S. economy. (Elisa.rolle/Wikimedia Commons)
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