Parks Can Fight Pollution
Newark, New Jersey
A vast network of infrastructure goes into supporting more than seven billion outdoor recreational outings. Americans enjoy park and recreation facilities maintained by entities at all levels of government. At the federal level, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are the main providers of park facilities. States and localities provide the bulk of park and recreational facilities that seven in 10 Americans use on a regular basis. National forests and grasslands capture and filter drinking water for 180 million people. America’s parks and public lands also support industries such as lodging, restaurants and bars, grocery and convenience stores, and gas stations.
A vast network of infrastructure goes into supporting more than seven billion outdoor recreational outings. Roads, bridges, trails, campsites, boat ramps, and other facilities help facilitate interaction with our public lands and access to the outdoors. The National Park Service (NPS) alone manages more than 75,000 constructed assets. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) ranks among the top federal providers of outdoor recreation, hosting approximately 370 million visitors annually at 403 lake and river projects in 43 states. NPS welcomed 307.2 million visitors in 2015 and national forests and grasslands hosted 161 million visits in 2012. Our national wildlife refuges accommodated nearly 47 million visitors in 2014. All of these parks require roads, trails, parking areas, and other facilities to make them accessible. Maintenance and investment keep the infrastructure safe and capable of meeting the demand of a growing population.Conditions & Capacity
The 2016 centennial of the National Park Service helped shine a light on the infrastructure needs and crowded facilities in our national parks. In 2015 NPS reached a record-high of $11.9 billion in deferred maintenance, which NPS defines as “maintenance that was not performed at the required intervals to ensure an acceptable facility condition to support the expected life cycle of an asset.” $5.97 billion of the deferred maintenance is for paved roads and structures including bridges, tunnels, and paved parking areas. The remaining $5.95 billion in deferred maintenance includes unpaved parking areas, unpaved roadways, utility systems, dams, constructed waterways, marinas, aviation systems, railroads, ships, monuments, fortifications, towers, interpretive media, and amphitheaters.Funding & Future Need
Continuing Resolutions have kept surface transportation funding at pre-FAST Act levels, and therefore states have not seen the increased federal investment into surface transportation they so badly need.Share Story
While we have made some progress, reversing the trajectory after decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure requires transformative action.Share Story
Senate Appropriators have allocated funding to the High Hazard Potential Dams Program. Write your Members of Congress and ask them to fund this program so that our nation’s “D” dams can receive the investment they need.Share Story