Chairman Enzi: It’s time to fix our national parks, but we must do so responsibly

Washington, D.C. – Our national parks are an important source of pride for our country, but unfortunately they are in desperate need of repair and maintenance that will cost nearly $12 billion, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

Speaking on the Senate floor today, Enzi advocated for an amendment to the Great American Outdoors Act, which aims to address the maintenance backlog in our national parks. However, Enzi said the Great American Outdoors Act “represents a one-time fix that is neither responsible nor permanent.” He said his amendment would address the backlog responsibly and permanently without adding to our debt.

“Without some changes, this legislation will force our country to borrow more money, burying us deeper in debt, and only provide funding for five years,” Enzi said. “Fixing this bill will help ensure we no longer have to put our parks’ current obligations on the backs of future generations.”

Enzi’s amendment would increase fees for foreign visitors entering the country. According to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, nearly 40 percent of people who come to the U.S. from abroad are visiting one of our national parks, which amounts to more than 14 million people.

The amendment also raises entrance fees for citizens by $5 and annual passes by $20. He emphasized that bringing a vehicle into a park would still be cheaper than taking a family of four to a movie or visiting an amusement park for a day. 

“No one likes to pay more for things, especially during times like these, but to maintain these national treasures for future generations, we either borrow money and put it on the national credit card or we take some modest steps to address the issues responsibly,” Enzi said.

Text of the amendment is available here. Last week, Enzi also wrote an opinion article on this issue, which is available here

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