What The Great American Outdoors Act Means for Colorado’s Parks
Congress has passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill that would address numerous maintenance issues within our national parks, and provide for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
This bill, which names Senator Cory Gardner as its lead sponsor, is something that many conservationists have been fighting for, including Restore America's Parks, a project within The Pew Charitable Trusts non-profit.
"[Restore America's Parks] is focused on protecting the national parks system, cultural resources, natural resources, by addressing the backlog that has been challenging our park service for a number of years now...the repair backlog, that is now estimated to cost $12 billion dollars to fix," said Marcia Argust, the Project Director for Restore America's Parks, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "[This bill] is a great solution to the challenges the park service is facing in terms of maintenance."
These challenges include deteriorating roads, eroding trails, old sewer and water systems, and inadequate ranger housing.
And, while the bill would impact the country as whole, Argust believes that the bill would especially benefit Colorado's economy, since the state's national parks are a prime destination for tourists.
"[Colorado] is getting 7 million visitors a year just coming to the park units. They're spending over half a billion dollars in local communities, and that's supporting 7,300 jobs each year," said Argust. "Rocky Mountain National Park gets four million of those visitors, so that park needs a lot of maintenance."
Now, the bill is awaiting the signature of President Trump, who has already expressed his support for it.
To learn more about the Great American Outdoors Act, listen to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Marcia Argust below.