Chairman Daines Calls for Action to Address National Park Maintenance Backlog

U.S. SENATE – Today, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks, chaired a congressional hearing to discuss his bill, the Restore Our Parks Act, and call for action of the National Park System’s maintenance backlog.

The Restore Our Parks Act would create a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund that would receive revenue from energy development and private donors.

Currently, the National Park Service backlog is $11.6 billion. Montana’s backlog is roughly $217.5 million, with the largest portion, $153.8 million, at Glacier National Park. 

Chairman Daines gave opening remarks during the hearing.

Senator Daines Opening Remarks

Excerpt from opening remarks:

“In my home state of Montana, our current backlog is about $217.5 million, with the largest portion, $153.8 million, at Glacier National Park.

The projects are varied, but they all, ultimately, impact the visitor experience.

Whether it is the $5.5 million needed to replace and upgrade electrical and wastewater utilities along Lake McDonald, or the $92,000 to repair water line that crosses Rose Creek in the Rising Sun concessions area, visitors to our National Parks deserve basic, functioning, infrastructure that actually works.”

Daines’ actions to address National Park Service Backlog:

On June 15, 2018, Daines secured $825 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to help address the National Park maintenance backlog.

On April 17, 2018, during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the National Park Service deferred maintenance backlog, Daines, Chairman of the National Parks Subcommittee, urged for immediate action to address the backlog.

On March 7, 2018, Daines joined a group of eight senators and two representatives to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral bill that will use revenues from energy production on federal lands to help pay for the over $11 billion maintenance backlog at U.S. national parks.

On February 9, 2018, Senate Western Caucus members led by Chairman Steve Daines (MT) sent a letter to President Trump following his State of the Union Address, urging him to include a set of core western principles and concepts in the President’s planned infrastructure proposal.

On November 21, 2017, Daines secured a 30-day extension to the comment period of proposed fee increase for our National Parks, following a letter sent to the Acting Director of the National Park Service, Mike Reynolds.

On November 14, Daines sent a letter to the Acting Director of the National Park Service, Mike Reynolds, asking for an extension of the public comment period for fee increases at 17 national parks.

In Apri1 2017, Daines secured recognition of National Parks Week, to increase awareness for the importance of preserving our national parks for a second century and address the maintenance backlog.

On March 17, 2017, Daines congratulated Secretary Zinke for his appointment and urged him to address the nation’s national park maintenance backlog.

On January 21, 2017, Daines announced that he would take the gavel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and outlined his goals as Subcommittee Chair, including reducing the maintenance backlog.

On January 5, 2017, Daines met with Secretary Zinke to discuss his priorities, including the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog.