Today, at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks hearing, Senator Portman’s bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act was widely praised by key stakeholders. Portman’s bipartisan legislation would help address the nearly $12 billion backlog of long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service (NPS). The bill would do so by establishing the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” to reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating half of the existing unobligated revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development up to $1.3 billion per year for the next five years. Here’s what key stakeholders said at the hearing today: 

We urge the subcommittee take quick action to advance the Restore Our Parks Act so that our national parks can begin to be repaired and restored for the benefit of their resources and for the enjoyment of the millions of American families who visit them each year.” - Kristen Brengel, Vice-President for Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association 

“Supporting the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act is a wise investment for a National Park System that has overwhelming support from the American public, that generates hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for the economy each year, that provides access to world class recreation opportunities, and that preserves our nation’s history. We appreciate the leadership and vision of Sens. Portman, Warner, Alexander, and King in protecting our national parks and we appreciate the serious consideration this Subcommittee and Congress to giving to the issue of restoring our parks. Pew is committed to working with all Members of Congress and the Administration to move this legislation forward.” - Marcia Argust, Director, Restore America’s Parks, Pew Charitable Trusts 

The Department supports S. 3172, which builds upon the collective efforts of Senators Portman, Warner, Alexander, and King. We appreciate that this bill combines the elements of both S. 751, the National Park Service Legacy Act, and S. 2509, the National Park Restoration Act, to accomplish the goal of providing mandatory funding to address the National Park Service’s (NPS) deferred maintenance backlog and closely aligns with the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal to establish a dedicated fund.” - Lena McDowall, Deputy Director, Management and Administration, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior 

The deferred maintenance backlog in our national parks is a major problem that is crippling the ability of the National Park Service to achieve its mission. Congressional appropriations have proven inadequate and too unreliable to resolve the problem. The Restore Our Parks Act can help reduce the current backlog. By establishing a dedicated fund, the act would provide a relatively secure and dependable source of revenues for park maintenance that is separate from the annual congressional appropriations process… It will take multiple creative approaches to adequately conserve and maintain our national parks for future generations, but the Restore Our Parks Act is a step in the right direction to enhance park stewardship.” - Holly Fretwell, Outreach Director and Research Fellow, Property and Environment Research Center

This bipartisan legislation would help tackle the more than $100 million maintenance backlog at Ohio’s eight national park sites listed below:

Ohio National Park Sites

Cost of Deferred Maintenance

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

$1,959,471

Ohio Cuyahoga Valley National Park

$45,813,356

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

$1,822,996

First Ladies National Historic Site

$1,170,601

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

$2,113,766

James A Garfield National Historic Site

$718,946

Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial

$47,747,223

William Howard Taft National Historic Site

$2,081,154

TOTAL

$103,427,512

Portman, a lifelong outdoorsman and a frequent visitor to Ohio’s national parks, has long been a leader in the U.S. Senate in efforts to protect our national parks. He is the author of the National Park Service Centennial Act, legislation signed into law in 2016 that authorizes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund and the Second Century Endowment Fund, two public-private partnerships that are already making a difference to provide more resources to maintain our parks.  Last year, Portman received the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Champion Award for his work on the National Park Service Centennial Act. He has previously received the 2012 NPCA Centennial Award, the 2015 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Centennial Leader Award.

###