2017-02-16 / Letters/Opinion

National Parks Are In Desperate Need Of Funding, Including Gateway

Dear Editor:

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. From the Statute of Liberty to Ellis Island to the Gateway National Recreation Area, New Yorkers can be proud of the amazing pieces of our shared heritage protected as national park sites. But our country’s parks face a daunting challenge: more than $12 billion in needed repairs.

The Park System’s deferred maintenance backlog includes unmaintained trails, crumbling roads and visitor centers in desperate need of updating. The Gateway National Recreation Area alone requires over $621 million in repairs, while the Statute of Liberty requires over $160 million in repairs.

These are major New York landmarks, responsible for millions of dollars in local revenue. And, while rangers and other park staff do the best they can to tackle these repairs, their efforts are not enough to impact the infrastructure needs. Our national parks face these challenges in large part because Congress has not made them a funding priority. In fact, the Park Service only receives less than 60 cents out of every dollar it actually needs, which just barely keeps the enormous backlog from growing even larger.

Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and Congressman Jeffries must work with the rest of Congress to make funding our parks a priority again. Only with adequate funding will New York’s parks - and indeed all our national parks - get the resources to continue protecting, beautifying and modernizing America’s favorite visiting destinations. We should remind our senators and congressman that this is New York. Every day, the world’s tourists are watching how much we value our own park infrastructure.

Respectfully,

Frank A. McGregor, Esq.

Canarsie resident

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