Ohio Conservation Leaders Praise Portman’s Bipartisan Legislation to Fund National Parks’ Maintenance Backlog

March 1, 2019 | Portman Difference

Last month, Senator Portman introduced the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation that would address the nearly $12 billion backlog in long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service (NPS). This legislation has been praised by Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Parks Conservation Association, the U.S. Travel Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Trust for the National Mall. The following are supportive statements from Ohio conservation leaders who support the legislation: 

Hope Taft, Former First Lady of Ohio: “Our national parks are important to Ohio history and tourism. I applaud Senator Portman for his bipartisan legislation the Restore Our Parks Act that would help protect our National Parks for future generations by investing in their maintenance. This legislation will help address the nearly $75 million in maintenance backlog at Ohio’s eight national parks and will ensure the National Park Service can continue preserving American treasures like the William Howard Taft National Park here in Cincinnati. Our parks should not be allowed to fall in disrepair and this legislation ensures that our parks can be accessed and enjoyed well into the future.”   

Deb Yandala, CEO, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park: “We appreciate the leadership of Senator Portman and other members of Congress in sponsoring this legislation. Our parks belong to all Americans and it is imperative that we protect these precious natural and historical sites. If our parks are to continue to serve people today and for generations to come, we must address their dire maintenance issues.  In Cuyahoga Valley National Park this includes important infrastructure needs in a highly visited park. Visitor safety and enjoyment are of utmost importance alongside critical resource protection.” 

Amanda Wright Lane, Great Grandniece of Wilbur and Orville Wright: “The National Park Service is one of our most beloved and valuable national treasures. It shares the American story through historical places and cultural landscapes. The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park tells the story of the Wright brothers, my great-grand uncles, who solved the challenge of flight and changed the world. In Dayton and across the country, our National Parks face uncertain funding to address deferred maintenance issues. The growing deferred maintenance problem impacts both the National Park’s ability to care for these treasures and the visitor experience. I applaud Senator Rob Portman’s leadership with his colleagues on the Restore Our Parks Act. This legislation will secure the funding needed to protect and preserve our country’s cultural resources.” 

Peter Huston, Director, Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce: “Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial is one of the most important national icons in our region built to recognize one of the most important battles in US Naval History, when Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. This 352' monument to International Peace is a beacon of hope that reminds us that for the last 205 years, we have celebrated the longest unsecured border in the world and enduring peace with Great Britain and Canada. Last year, we had the opportunity to tour Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial with Sen. Portman, he saw first-hand the critical delayed maintenance needs. We discussed his Restore Our Parks Act, which addresses the most critical deferred maintenance needs in our National Parks. We are in full support of his bill that would help Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay to secure some of the badly needed $47.7 million in deferred maintenance projects. Access to these funds could not happen soon enough.” 

Melody Young, Executive Director, Chillicothe Visitors Bureau: “I applaud Senator Portman for his bipartisan legislation, the Restore Our Parks Act. Currently, there is a $2.1 million backlog at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ross County, and nearly $75 million in maintenance backlog in Ohio eight National Parks. For our parks to serve current and future generations we must address the dire maintenance needs to ensure the safety and enjoyment of visitors. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park plays an integral park in tourism for Ross County. As with other counties in Ohio, the preservation and availability of our National Parks should be a priority.” 

Carol Gibbs, Vice President, Friends of Taft Legacy: “Thank you Senator Portman for introducing bipartisan legislation, the Restore our Parks Act, to help tackle the multi-billion maintenance backlog plaguing the National Park Service. Specifically in Cincinnati, this legislation would address the $2 million in maintenance backlog for the William Howard Taft National Park.  We must ensure that future generations can see and appreciate our rich natural history, and to learn more about the people and lands that have shaped us as a nation.” 

Mackensie Wittmer, Dayton Area Director, The Alliance of National Heritage Areas:The Restore Our Parks Act will address the long-deferred and ever growing maintenance backlog of our National Parks including our nation’s most iconic historic resources and cultural artifacts. This legislation identifies a reliable federal funding source to reduce the backlog and enable the National Park Service to save historic structures and landscapes. Additionally, the Restore Our Parks Act will enable the National Park Service to provide the public a consistent and meaningful visitor experience in Ohio and across the country. As Chair of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, I commend Sens. Portman and Warner and Reps. Bishop and Kilmer  for their leadership in creating a bipartisan path for Congress to secure the future of important historic and cultural resources now at risk.” 

Mark E. Coppeler, President, Ottawa County Board of Commissioners: “The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners is in support of the Restore Our Parks Act legislation. We understand this legislation will address several billion dollars in long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Services. We are very fortunate to have Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial located on  Put-In-Bay, here in Ottawa County. The need for funding that this legislation addresses is greatly needed and we support those efforts.”