Last week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced $5.9 million in funding that was approved to rebuild “critical national park infrastructure” in Mississippi.
A news release stated that the funds will be put towards the stabilization of the railroad Redoubt Earthworks in Vicksburg National Military Park. This is part of $256 million going to a list of projects across the National Park Service to address “dire maintenance and repair needs that contribute to the $11.6 billion backlog currently facing the nation’s parks.”
Secretary Zinke stated that this issue is important to President Trump as the administration aims to restore parks across the country.
“The President is a builder, he loves to build and he loves our National Parks, so it is a natural fit that the Administration is dedicating so much attention to rebuilding our aging parks infrastructure. These approved projects are more than just line items on an Excel spreadsheet. They have a tangible effect on a person’s experience when visiting our nation’s parks,” said Secretary Zinke. “Today’s announcement is another step toward eliminating the more than $11 billion in maintenance facing the National Park Service. It’s another step toward prioritizing infrastructure because it is an investment that bolsters local economies and gateway communities. And it is another step in prioritizing access for all Americans to our public lands.”
The funds allocated for Mississippi were well received by Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith.
“The inclusion of Vicksburg National Military Park in the National Park Service’s spending plan demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to keeping this historically significant site accessible to the public,” said Senator Roger Wicker. “I thank Secretary Zinke for prioritizing this park and for his efforts to promote America’s history and public lands.”
“Overdue maintenance should not be allowed to threaten the Vicksburg National Military Park and its historic significance,” said Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. “I’m pleased funding has been appropriated for the National Park Service to address repairs needed to keep the Military Park safe and open over the long term.”
The media release outlined the importance of maintaining the nation’s infrastructure.
Roads, bridges, trails, water systems and visitor centers—even bathrooms, campgrounds and drinking fountains—are all part of this critical, but often unnoticed, infrastructure framework. In 2017, 330 million people visited the 417 NPS sites across the country. The NPS completed over $650 million in maintenance and repair work in Fiscal Year 2017, but aging facilities, high visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010.
Secretary Zinke has made tackling Interior’s deferred maintenance backlog one of his top priorities. In April, he signed a memorandum of understanding committing Interior to follow President Trump’s One Federal Decision framework for processing of environmental reviews and permits for major infrastructure projects. In March, Interior announced the Secretary’s partnership with Congress on a bipartisan bill to address rebuild and repair National Park Service infrastructure.
The full list of approved Fiscal Year 2018 National Park Service construction projects:
|George Washington Memorial Parkway||Repair Arlington Memorial Bridge.||DC||$18,200,000|
|National Mall and Memorial Parks||Restore Jefferson Roof and Portico.||DC||$21,371,000|
|Lowell National Historical Park||Replace Unsafe and Inefficient Windows of Boott Mill Museum.||MA||$4,177,000|
|Cape Cod National Seashore||Upgrade Visitor Access at Herring Cove Beach.||MA||$5,442,000|
|Yellowstone National Park||Rehab and Seismic Retrofit of Mammoth Hotel Guest Room Wings.||WY||$21,264,000|
|Fort Point National Historic Site||Repair Leaks in North Barbette Tier and Repoint Brick Masonry at Fort Point.||CA||$5,996,000|
|Channel Islands National Park||Replace Anacapa Stiff-Leg Derrick Crane with Two-Crane System.||CA||$3,922,000|
|Mount Rushmore National Memorial||Replace Plaza Paver System and Rehabilitate Visitor Center.||SD||$8,937,000|
|Vicksburg National Military Park||Stabilize Railroad Redoubt Earthworks.||MS||$5,909,000|
|Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve||Construct Electrical Intertie to Falls Creek Hydro Project – Renewable Energy & Sustainability.||AK||$7,545,000|
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park||Rehabilitate Elkmont Waste Water System.||TN||$2,594,000|
|Valley Forge National Historical Park||Rehabilitate Visitor Center for Access, Safety, and Energy Efficiency.||PA||$10,030,000|
|Old Santa Fe Trail Building||Rehab Building for Seismic, Rehab Exterior Envelope and Historic Elements.||NM||$2,822,000|
|Lake Mead National Recreation Area||Replace Water Intake Barge with Shoreline Wells at Katherine Landing to Ensure Reliable Water Supply.||AZ||$1,976,000|
|Death Valley National Park||Restore Flood-Damaged Historic Scotty’s Castle Visitor Center.||CA||$5,394,000|
|Carlsbad Caverns National Park||Replace Old/Failing Primary Electrical Distribution Infrastructure.||NM||$3,432,000|
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park||North Shore Road Monetary Settlement.||NC||$35,200,000|
|Mammoth Cave National Park||Reconstruct Unsafe Cave Trail Along Grand Avenue Tour Between Snowball and Grand Central.||KY||$13,894,000|
|Statue Of Liberty National Monument||Stabilize Ellis Island Seawall – Phase III.||NY||$33,021,000|
|National Capital Regional Office||Rehabilitate National Mall and Memorial Parks, US Park Police, and Regional Office Campus.||DC||$11,807,000|
|Yosemite National Park||Rehabilitate Wawona Wastewater Treatment Plant.||CA||$21,578,000|
|Glacier National Park||Rebuild/Reconstruct Sperry Chalet.||MT||$12,000,000|
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