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More Than 57,000 Jobs Could Be Made Restoring U.S. Parks, Report Says


Photo of Grand Canyon by Michael Nichols/NGS

The U.S. Congress and the incoming Obama Administration have an opportunity to include national parks in economic recovery legislation to create jobs and restore the country’s national treasures, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) said today.

“Congress and the Obama Administration should seize this opportunity — the best in half a century — to create jobs by reinvesting in our national park heritage,” said NPCA President Tom Kiernan.

“The National Park Service could benefit from an investment exceeding $2.5 billion, including well over $1 billion worth of potential investments in ready-to-go park projects this year,” he said in a press statement.


Photo of Yellowstone by Edwin L. Wisherd/NGS

An NPCA report, Working Assets: Reinvesting in National Parks to Create Jobs and Protect America’s Heritage, highlights job-creating road repair projects in Acadia in Maine, Death Valley in California, and Glacier in Montana; accessibility improvements in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina; sewer system repair in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio; historic building preservation in Dry Tortugas in Florida and Valley Forge in Pennsylvania; and construction of much-needed employee housing in the Grand Canyon as examples of ready-to-go national park projects nationwide.


Additional projects would repair trails and bridges that visitors use every day, control invasive species, “green” park facilities such as visitor centers, and launch clean energy programs.

“In total, these investments will create economic activity, including upwards of 57,000 jobs, and address critical park needs in time for the Park Service’s 2016 centennial,” the press statement said.

A recent study commissioned by NPCA found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars economic value to the public.

The NPCA points out that this  year marks the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps, “created by President Franklin Roosevelt a/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2008/1s one anchor set to stabilize the American economy during the Great Depression.”

Photo of Yellowstone by Paul Zahl/NGS

The Roosevelt Administration invested $3 billion ($47.5 billion in current dollars) over the lifetime of the program to put three million people to work on projects in the national parks and elsewhere — planting trees and building bridges, roads, trails, and campgrounds in national parks from Yellowstone to Shenandoah.

“President Roosevelt’s investment in the national parks put Americans to work and laid the foundation for the modern National Park System, the association said.

“Congress and the Obama Administration have the opportunity to revitalize our national parks and prepares them for a second century of service to the nation,” Kiernan added.


Photo of Assateague by James L. Stanfield/NGS

Related National Geographic News stories:

Global Warming Threatens 12 U.S. National Parks, Report Warns

Surprise Finds Top List of Best National Parks

U.S. National Parks Told to Quietly Cut Services

New U.S. Park? Maine Bid Draws High-Profile Debate

Photo in the News: Grand Canyon Glass Bridge Rolled Out

Everglades Rescue “Out on a Limb” Without Federal Aid

Huge, Freed Pet Pythons Invade Florida Everglades

Related NatGeo news Watch blog entries:

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Warming is Killing Yellowstone’s Amphibians, Researchers Find