National Parks Maintenance Backlog Continues to Grow
The National Park Service released its fiscal year 2014 deferred maintenance statistics for national parks, revealing an $11.49 billion nationwide total, up from the $11.3 billion reported at the end of fiscal year 2013.
Deferred maintenance and necessary work on infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, visitor centers, trails and campgrounds, that has been put off for more than a year. Aging facilities, increasing use of park facilities and scarce resources contribute to the growing backlog.
National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said the bureau's FY2016 budget request before Congress includes a major effort to reduce the maintenance backlog for the National Park Service's centennial in 2016.
"If funded, the National Park Service's 2016 budget request will allow us to restore our highest priority, non-transportation assets to good condition," Jarvis said. "As we invite more Americans to discover the special places in the National Park System during our centennial celebration, we need to have facilities that can accommodate them and provide the best possible visitor experience."
Park roads and bridges account for about half of the maintenance backlog. The National Park Service receives some funding for these projects through the Federal Lands Transportation Program in the surface transportation bill. Those funds are set to expire in May.
President Obama's proposal for the transportation bill, now under consideration in Congress, includes $150 million in new funding for nationally significant projects. The money would be awarded competitively for major transportation projects on federal and tribal lands.
"President Obama's proposal for these major projects could address some of the National Park Service's large and critical deferred transportation projects," Jarvis said. "Completing those projects would pave the way for many of the hundreds of millions of visitors that come to national parks each year."
The National Park Service's budget request for non-transportation assets includes an increase of $242.8 million across operations and construction accounts, in combination with a mandatory proposal to provide $300 million annually over three years to restore the highest priority, non-transportation assets to good condition over 10 years and to maintain that infrastructure in good condition.
Deferred maintenance figures by type, park and state are available at http://go.nps.gov/deferredmaint.