Recently, Senator Portman introduced the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation that would help address the nearly $12 billion backlog of long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service (NPS). The bill, which has been praised by key stakeholders, would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” to reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating existing unobligated revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development.  Notably, the measure would help tackle the more than $100 million maintenance backlog at Ohio’s eight national park sites. Following are key excerpts from several Ohio media outlets:

  • “A bill backed by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman would bring more than $700,000 to Mentor’s James A Garfield National Historic Site. The Restore Our Parks Act aims at addressing the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at the National Park Service. Ohio would see nearly $103 million for its eight national parks, including $718,946 for the Garfield site.” – The News-Herald, July 15, 2018 
  • “Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s restore Our Parks Act would alleviate a $12-billion backlog of deferred maintenance at areas overseen by the National Park Service. The billions in repair jobs that have been put off because of a lack of funding includes parks in every state, according to a listing of deferred maintenance. ‘Just in general terms, deferred maintenance covers HVAC systems, sidewalk repairs, roofing repairs,’ said Kendell Thompson, new superintendent for Dayton’s historical park. ‘It’s stuff that just needs to be done as a part of a regular maintenance program. As projects are prioritized some will get funded and some will not.’” – Dayton Daily News, July 15, 2018 
  • “Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is on the list to benefit from a bi-partisan bill that help the National Parks make improvements….The bill would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” to reduce the maintenance backlog … Notably, the measure would help tackle the more than $100 million maintenance backlog at Ohio’s eight national park site.” – Xenia Daily Gazette, July 13, 2018 
  • “The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing Wednesday to consider a bill introduced by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, that could provide $1.17 million to the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton to cover the cost of backlogged maintenance projects.” – The Canton Repository, July 11, 2018 
  • “Portman introduced the Restore Our Parks Act in the U.S. Senate last week, according to his office. If passed by both houses of congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the bipartisan bill would address a long backlog of deferred maintenance at the country’s National Parks.” – Springfield News-Sun, July 11, 2018 
  • “As Hopewell Culture National Historical Park continues its march toward World Heritage designation, it may be in line for more than $2 million to tackle some backlogged park maintenance needs. On Wednesday, the National Parks Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee conducted a hearing on the Restore Our Parks Act. The legislation was introduced June 28 by Republican Sens. Rob Portman and Lamar Alexander, Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Independent Senator Angus King to address issues with overdue maintenance issues in national parks.”—Chillicothe Gazette, July 11, 2018

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.

###