2017-03-24 / Letters

Funds should be found to update park system

To the editor:

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. One of the jewels of our national park system is Maine’s own Acadia. With its granite peaks, rugged coastline, and awe-inspiring beauty, Acadia is the first eastern national park and remains one of our nation’s most-popular and recognized national parks.

But Acadia, which welcomed a record breaking 3.2 million visitors last year, has over $68 million in repair needs, including about $40 million in needed repairs to park roads that many visitors use to explore the park.

It’s not an isolated problem either.

The park system has over $12 billion deferred maintenance, including unmaintained trails, crumbling roads and visitor centers in desperate need of updating.

Rangers and other park staff do the best they can to tackle these repairs, but our national parks face these challenges in large part because Congress has not made them a funding priority.

In fact, the park service receives less than 60 cents out of every dollar it needs just to keep the backlog from growing. But just like in your own home, the longer a repair is pushed off, the harder and more expensive it becomes to fix.

Our members of Congress need to work together to make funding our parks a priority again.

Following this centennial year of our National Park Service, Congress must commit to making sure Acadia and all our national parks have the resources and support they need to continue protecting America’s favorite places.

Deirdre McNamara
Kennebunkport

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