Saving ‘America’s best idea’ for our children, and theirs, too

America’s national parks are time capsules of sorts; set aside generations ago, these incredible lands allow us to walk the same paths and see the same sights as those who came before us. Just as important, they are a marker of our priorities – a physical representation of a core human responsibility: passing on a better world to our children.

Unfortunately, we’ve been neglecting this obligation for decades. Our national parks are quite literally being loved to death – after decades of widespread use and insufficient investments, these American treasures face a $12 billion maintenance backlog. Roads are crumbling, facilities are wearing out, and important projects are being postponed indefinitely. We haven’t done enough, and our inaction is a threat to the future of “ America’s best idea.”

That changes now. Last week, the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill that makes massive changes to protect and preserve our national parks for future generations. It’s no exaggeration to say that this bill is one of the most important works of conservation of the last half century – and its benefits will be felt for years to come.

Included as part of the legislation is the Restore Our Parks Act – a bipartisan proposal I first introduced with Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, in 2018. Our bill takes existing funds the government receives from energy development on federal lands and uses them in paying down this maintenance backlog. It’s simple symmetry – the money comes from use of the land, so it’s only right to put it right back into protecting these lands for the future.

Speak Your Mind