A Whopping $12 Billion Is Needed to Upgrade National Parks

From sea to shining sea, America’s bountiful national parks need a lot of help.

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Getty Images)

Feb 7, 2016· 0 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

Making sure the Jefferson Memorial doesn’t sink into the Tidal Basin seems like a great idea.

Yet the monument honoring one of America’s founders is just one of many managed by the U.S. National Park Service that has been awaiting upgrades, thanks to a $12 billion backlog of park system infrastructure projects, according to The Associated Press.

“Alcatraz, the former federal prison in California, has crumbling walls and deteriorating windows. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky needs to have dirt trails replaced for safety. And a historic hotel at Montana’s Glacier National Park needs a new fire sprinkler system and other work,” the AP reports.

Lawmakers have approved $547 million for maintenance, and the Obama administration will try to curb the backlog by spending $900 million over three years. Much of that will go toward roadwork.

Park advocates are hoping that lawmakers will do more for the 409 park sites to help bring young Americans into the great outdoors. More than 292 million Americans visited national parks in 2014.

“We have a lot yet to do, but I think everything is moving in the right direction,” NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis told the AP on Friday.