February 8, 2022
Dear Chairman King, Ranking Member Daines and Members of the Committee,
We, the members of the National Parks Second Century Action Coalition (Coalition)1The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition is made up of organizations supporting conservation, recreation, outdoor industry, travel and tourism and historic preservation that are dedicated to promoting the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of the National Park System for the long-term benefit it offers our nation., thank the Subcommittee on National Parks for hosting the important upcoming hearing on the Great American Outdoors Act. We commend the historic bipartisan support for this bill and are pleased to see great progress since enactment in ensuring the protection of and access to irreplaceable lands and local recreation opportunities through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and addressing priority repair projects in our national parks and other public lands through the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF).
The historic passage of the Great American Outdoors Act with broad bipartisan support illustrates the overarching appreciation for our national parks and other public lands and ability of members of Congress to come together to support our national parks’ funding needs.
The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition focuses on the investments made to the National Park Service through the LRF, which is key to addressing the high priority deferred maintenance needs in our parks. A few examples of the national park projects underway or waiting for final approval include:
Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Project to restore 12 acres of unoccupied, residential land around the park to natural landscapes which will decrease potential hazards and increase recreation opportunities for park visitors.
Fort Smith National Historic Site: Project repairs and restores deteriorated plaster and ceilings and walls, floors and historic joists of the commissary building.
National Mall and Memorial Parks: Project to clean the dark biofilm that covered the white marble exterior of the Jefferson Memorial. Funding also fixed cracked stone that posed a danger to visitors.
Grand Teton National Park: Project to improve safety and visitor experiences along the Moose-Wilson road which includes rehabilitation of the Granite Entrance Station and repair of the Death Canyon access road.
Fort Pulaski National Monument: Project to improve energy efficiency and repair and restore porches on the historic cottage to their 1920s exterior appearance.
Blue Ridge Parkway: Project to replace the Laurel Fork Bridge built in 1939. The bridge currently poses a potential hazard during high wind events and has been estimated to only have four more years of service remaining.
Mammoth Cave National Park: Project to replace the Mammoth Cave Hotel roof that is 25 years old and overdue for repairs before damage incurs. The hotel was constructed in 1965 and provides year-round accommodations for park visitors.
Glacier National Park: Project that rehabilitates a portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a critical roadway that provides an east-west link across the park and is the primary road used by park visitors to access and enjoy the park.
Grand Canyon National Park: Project replaces the deteriorated water line that serves more than 6 million visitors and nearby residents. This repair is overdue with an estimated pipeline break up to 30 times a year, requiring costly fixes and sometimes the closure of popular hiking and camping destinations.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Project to rehabilitate the antiquated waterline that serves the park’s headquarters, public campgrounds, staff housing, and additional park facilities. This project has been much needed as the park’s 50-year-old system was not able to adequately meet the water quality needs for visitors and staff.
The National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund—coupled with the investments for road infrastructure projects through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—provides the National Park Service and other federal land management agencies the ability to invest in large infrastructure projects. As a result, other funding sources including appropriations, fees and the Centennial Challenge can focus on addressing more small and medium size infrastructure projects throughout the system. We encourage the National Park Service to more clearly highlight all the projects supported and accomplished through the variety of funding sources and as a result of the investments from the Great American Outdoors Act.
Again, the National Parks Second Century Action Coalition commends this important hearing as we are pleased with the projects underway and excited to see continued efforts to provide unforgettable experiences to park visitors. The Coalition is ready to work with Congress to secure additional funding to address the remainder of the deferred maintenance backlog and to ensure that both LRF and LWCF projects are strategic and effectively implemented.
Thank you for considering our views,
American Hiking Society
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Atomic Heritage Foundation
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Evangelical Environmental Network
Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
International Inbound Tour Association
League of Conservation Voters
National Park Hospitality Association
National Parks Conservation Association
National Park Partners
National Tour Association
Public Lands Alliance
Rocky Mountain Conservancy
Southeast Tourism Society
United States Tour Operators Association
Washington’s National Park Fund
Western States Tourism Policy Council
Wild Rivers Conservancy
- 1The National Parks Second Century Action Coalition is made up of organizations supporting conservation, recreation, outdoor industry, travel and tourism and historic preservation that are dedicated to promoting the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of the National Park System for the long-term benefit it offers our nation.