The National Park Service (NPS) estimates that during Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, over $671 million in needed repair work was completed at national parks across the country, one of the largest amounts of deferred maintenance needs retired in a single year, according to a press release.
This leaves, at the end of FY18, more than $11.9 billion in backlogged maintenance and repair needs for the more than 5,500 miles of paved roads, 17,000 miles of trails and 24,000 buildings that service visitors to America’s 418 national parks.
“Improvements to visitor facilities, campgrounds, trails, and backbone infrastructure are essential to providing a world-class experience to our more than 300 million annual visitors and a safe work environment for our employees, volunteers, and partners,” National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said. “Addressing the deferred maintenance in our national parks is critical to our core mission and remains a top priority.”
The NPS saw 318.2 million recreation visits in 2018, the third highest total since record keeping began in 1904. The deferred maintenance figure increased by $313 million (2.7%) over FY 2017. Aging facilities, increased visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010.
Among the $671 million of backlogged maintenance projects the NPS successfully completed last year were a new roof over the visitor center at Gateway Arch National Park, a 26-mile pavement preservation project in Yosemite National Park, the restoration of native grasses at Nez Perce National Historical Park, and new paved trail surfaces at Independence National Historical Park.
Fiscal Year 2018 Deferred Maintenance Achievements:
— $213 million in transportation DM was retired on over 1,000 transportation assets such as paved and unpaved roads, parking areas, bridges, and tunnels.
— $201 million in buildings deferred maintenance (DM) was retired across 272 park units.
— $92 million in utility systems, dams, constructed waterways, marinas, aviation systems, railroads, ships, monuments, fortifications, towers, and interpretive media and amphitheaters DM was retired across 169 park units.
— $56 million in water and wastewater systems DM was retired across 108 park units.
— $52 million in trails DM was retired across 146 park units.
— $28 million in maintained landscapes DM was retired across 176 park units.
— $18 million in housing DM was retired across 136 park units.
— $11 million in campgrounds DM was retired across 57 park units.