One Year Later, Great American Outdoors Act Projects Underway in Maine
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
BAR HARBOR, Maine -- One year after the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law, repairs and maintenance to the nation's more than 400 national parks and monuments are under way.
The bipartisan bill allocated $6.65 billion over five years for national park repairs, nearly $3 billion for maintenance at other land-management agencies, and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said if there was any doubt about the value of national parks to Americans, it was erased last year with the surge in visitations.
"Even in the COVID year, 327 million people visited our national parks," King reported. "The population of America is about 330 million people. So obviously, there were a lot of foreign visitors and visitors who went more than once, but still, we're talking about a treasured national asset."
National Park Service data show park visitors in 2019 spent roughly $21 billion in local communities, supporting more than 340,000 jobs. Close to 4.5 million people visited Acadia National Park alone.
David MacDonald, president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, noted $25 million have been approved for a new maintenance center at the park; the hub for all the equipment, vehicles, supplies and tools used for maintenance and repairs to trails and carriage roads. He added the building has needed serious work for decades, but there has been a backlog across the country.
"A lot of these projects are not glamorous, you know; they're wastewater systems, they're water lines, they're bridges, they're culverts," MacDonald outlined. "This is the infrastructure that was really, really in bad shape."
King pointed out one issue to deal with in the future is overcrowding, including congestion with too many vehicles in the most popular parks. He also recommended people seek out some lesser-known but still great parks.
"Get a little bit off the beaten path, and you'll find some gems that you didn't know about," King urged. "This is a big part of improving the experience more broadly and also alerting people to the existence of some great, wonderful places they might not have heard of."
Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
get more stories like this via email
RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than $1 million in COVID-19 relief grants are helping rural organizations increase their focus on locally sourced food relief…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- This fall, the Iowa Utilities Board is hosting meetings to inform the public about a proposed underground pipeline, which would …
MANDAN, N.D. -- North Dakota has had nearly 18,000 job openings in recent months, with roughly 1,000 in construction. A labor leader in the trades …
Health and Wellness
DAYTON, Ohio -- An Ohio county is taking a trauma-informed approach to its work on preventing marijuana use in teens. As marijuana policy changes …
DENVER -- As Congress considers making significant investments in the nation's child-care system, children's advocates say now is the time to make …
MONTEREY BAY, Calif. - This week, conservation groups are celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week with online and in-person events across the state…
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new Redistricting Advisory Council announced last week by Gov. Tom Wolf's office will focus on reducing gerrymandering as new …
DULUTH, Minn. - As Minnesota looks to address the impact of climate change on the region, land managers and policymakers are reminded of the role …