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PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2018 


The Senate votes to withdraw funding for the Saudi war in Yemen. Also on the Friday rundown: the Global Climate Conference reinforces the need for grassroots movements; and could this be the most wasteful time of year?

Daily Newscasts

Senate Vote Expected on Money to Fix National Parks

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore had an $18 million maintenance backlog in 2017. (USFWS/Flickr)
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore had an $18 million maintenance backlog in 2017. (USFWS/Flickr)
October 1, 2018

LANSING, Mich. — A U.S. Senate committee could vote as soon as Tuesday on a measure that could inject billions of dollars into national parks across the nation, including those in Michigan.

If passed, the Restore Our Parks Act would approve up to $6.5 billion over five years to be used to address the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog at national parks. Wayne Aylsworth is a trustee for the Village of Empire, and he said nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has almost $18 million in needed repairs.

"When you have a million-and-a-half plus [visitors] coming up here, the infrastructures that are needed are key,” Aylsworth said. “It's getting to be very outdated; the restrooms need to be brought back up to date. National Park-owned roads need further maintenance as well."

In total, Michigan's five national parks needed $54 million in 2017 for deferred maintenance.

Marcia Argust, director of the Restore America's Parks Campaign at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said with 2.7 million visitors every year, Michigan's national parks are the backbone of many local economies.

"In Michigan, where Senator Stabenow sits on the Senate committee that will soon consider the Restore Our Parks Act, park visitors spent over $230 million in local communities last year,” Argust said. “And parks generated over 3,400 jobs."

And while Congress hasn't made a significant investment to upgrade national parks in 50 years, Argust said she’s optimistic this legislation will pass.

"In a very polarized climate on Capitol Hill, this strong bipartisan support for this legislation will benefit park resources, protect recreation access, and continue to promote local economies,” she said.

Beyond improving visitor safety, she noted the funding would preserve historic projects and buildings for future generations.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI