From Yellowstone National Park to the Everglades and Acadia National Park to Yosemite, our national parks are among our nation’s most treasured national assets and have been rightly called our nation’s “crown jewels.” Not only do our national parks drive the economies of gateway communities like many in Idaho, but they provide hundreds of millions of Americans each year the opportunity to get outdoors and learn about the places and people of our great country.
I am a strong supporter of our national parks. As a member of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the National Park Service, I recognize that there are a number of challenges facing our parks, not the least of which is that we have a tendency to love our parks to death. Addressing these challenges during difficult budget times requires us to set careful priorities and do more with the limited resources available.
During the 115th Congress, I have introduced legislation to address one of the most pressing problems facing our public lands – the deferred maintenance backlog. The National Park Service backlog has been estimated as high as $12 billion. That is why I introduced H.R. 2863, the LAND Act, which creates dedicated funding for National Parks and other land management agencies that have a backlog in maintenance. The funding would specifically help them improve the infrastructure that Americans rely on to access these beautiful parks.
As Republicans continue in their commitment to doing what it takes to reduce federal spending, balance the budget, and create jobs to help get our economy on a sustainable, healthy path for the future, I will work to create a responsible budget for the National Park Service.