Hurd Continues Efforts to Restore National Parks
Recently, I joined my colleagues to help jumpstart overdue maintenance projects across our national parks by introducing the Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act. This bipartisan bill works to reduce the nearly $12 billion backlog the National Park Service (NPS) faces to repair roads, visitor facilities, trails and other park structures.
In 2017, Texas national faced over $167 million in backlogged maintenance projects, including the following amounts at parks located in the 23rd District of Texas:
- $100,421,335 at Big Bend National Park;
- $7,031,046 at Amistad National Recreational Area;$6,937,728 at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park;
- $6,411,208 at Guadalupe Mountains National Park; and,
- $2,810,717 at Fort Davis National Historic Site.
Big Bend, the San Antonio Missions and all of the parks and historical areas I represent provide immeasurable cultural, environmental and economic benefits. We have a responsibility as a nation to care for these natural treasures. Yet in 2017 alone, national parks in Texas had a backlog of over $167 million in deferred maintenance – nearly 75 percent of projects are in the 23rd District of Texas. This bill provides more flexible financing options and revenue sources to jump start these overdue maintenance projects, so that our parks can remain beautiful and accessible for future generations of park goers to enjoy.
“For years, our national parks have been plagued with underfunding while also dealing with a mounting backlog of repair needs, totaling nearly $12 billion. In Texas alone, national parks are facing more than $168 million in maintenance projects from needed upgrades to the wastewater system at Big Bend National Park to restoring a ranger safety station and boardwalk at Padre Island National Seashore. Thanks to the support and leadership of numerous Congressional champions, including Representative Hurd, the bipartisan Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act would make a significant investment to address these and so many more infrastructure needs in national parks across the country, ensuring safe and enjoyable experiences for millions of visitors and the protection of the resources that help tell our nation’s stories,”said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association.
“Restoring our national parks is a smart investment with a high rate of return for visitors, park resources, and local economies,” said Marcia Argust, who directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Restore America’s Parks campaign.
“It is essential to maintain our national treasures in good condition so that future generations of visitors will have as wonderful and unique an experience as we do today. This bill will address the myriad backlog maintenance issues facing all national park units, which undermine the safety and preservation of these special places. We thank the Congressman for being a leader on this issue,” said Courtney Lyons-Garcia, Executive Director of the Big Bend Conservancy.
This bipartisan bill provides investments to reduce backlog in deferred maintenance projects by directing half of unallocated federal mineral revenues. I cosponsored identical legislation last Congress.