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Contact: Randy King, Superintendent, 360-569-6503
The National Park Service this week released its Fiscal Year 2014 deferred maintenance statistics for national parks. The $11.49 billion nationwide total was up from the $11.3 billion reported at the end of FY2013. Mount Rainier National Park also has a backlog of deferred maintenance projects which totals $298,373,137.
Deferred maintenance is necessary work on infrastructure such as roads and bridges, visitor centers, trails, and campgrounds that has been put off for more than a year. Aging facilities, increasing use of park facilities, and insufficient maintenance funding contribute to the growing backlog. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget request includes a major effort to reduce the maintenance backlog for the National Park Service's centennial in 2016.
"If funded, the National Park Service's 2016 budget request will allow us to restore several of our highest priority non-transportation assets to good condition. An example of an important project this funding would enable at Mount Rainier is the rehabilitation and seismic stabilization of the historic Paradise Inn Annex, built in 1921," stated Superintendent Randy King.
"We are inviting the world to discover the special places in the National Park System, like Mount Rainier National Park, during our centennial celebration. We need to have facilities that can accommodate guests and provide the best possible visitor experience," King said.
Park roads and bridges account for about half of the overall NPS maintenance backlog, and more than two thirds of the maintenance backlog at Mount Rainier National Park. The National Park Service receives some funding for these projects through the Federal Lands Transportation Program in the surface transportation bill. Those funds would expire in May. President Obama's proposal for the transportation bill now under consideration in Congress includes $150 million in new funding for nationally significant projects that would be awarded competitively for major transportation projects on federal and tribal lands.
"President Obama's proposal to fund nationally significant transportation projects could address some of the National Park Service's large, critical deferred maintenance transportation projects," said Superintendent King. "Completing those projects would pave the way for many of the hundreds of millions of visitors that come to national parks each year. The recent rehabilitation of ten miles of the Stevens Canyon Road, and the ongoing work to rehabilitate the seventeen mile Nisqually Road to Paradise, are examples of critical transportation projects needed at Mount Rainier."
The National Park Service's overall budget request for non-transportation assets includes an increase of $242.8 million across operations and construction accounts, in combination with a mandatory proposal to provide $300 million annually over three years. Funding this proposal would enable the National Park Service to restore highest priority non-transportation assets to good condition over 10 years and maintain those assets in good conditions.
Deferred maintenance figures by type, park, and state are available at https://go.nps.gov/deferredmaint.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov/, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.