Bipartisan Bill to Restore National Parks Passes Committee

June 26, 2019
Press Release
“I am proud of the hard work my colleagues and I have put into this bipartisan bill”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee advanced the bipartisan Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225) to jumpstart overdue maintenance projects across our national parks and historic sites. U.S. Representative Will Hurd (TX-23) joined Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) in this effort to reduce the nearly $12 billion backlog the National Park Service (NPS) faces to repair roads, visitor facilities, trails and other park structures.

In 2018, Texas national faced over $154 million in backlogged maintenance projects, including the following amounts at parks located in the 23rd District of Texas:

  • $89,657,790 at Big Bend National Park;
  • $10,698,835 at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park;
  • $5,865,024 at Guadalupe Mountains National Park;
  • $5,607,923 at Amistad National Recreational Area; and,
  • $4,741,523 at Fort Davis National Historic Site.

“We must ensure that our national parks and historic sites, including the eight I represent, continue to provide immeasurable cultural, environmental and economic benefits across local communities for generations to come. I am proud of the hard work my colleagues and I have put into this bipartisan bill that does exactly that,” said Hurd, co-chair of the bipartisan National Parks Caucus. “In 2018 alone national parks in Texas had a backlog of over $154 million in deferred maintenance, and over 75 percent of projects are in the 23rd District of Texas. I thank my friends on the Natural Resources Committee for recognizing the importance of reducing NPS’s deferred maintenance backlog and I look forward to seeing this bill soon on the House floor.”

“As the National Park Foundation strives to enhance the visitor experience at our national parks, we celebrate the House Committee on Natural Resources’ vote to advance the bipartisan Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, which would provide substantial investment in these treasured places. We applaud Ranking Member Rob Bishop and Representative Derek Kilmer for championing this important effort, and commend Chairman Raúl Grijalva for his commitment to addressing our parks’ deferred maintenance needs and holding today’s markup. We also greatly appreciate Representative Hurd’s longtime leadership to tackle this issue, and commend the legislation’s more than 290 cosponsors for their support. The Foundation looks forward to the proposal’s timely consideration by the full House of Representatives to ensure our national parks thrive today and into the future,” said Will Shafroth, President and CEO, National Park Foundation.

“National parks protect some of America’s most iconic landscapes and most important history and culture. Unfortunately, our parks’ infrastructure has been neglected for far too long. But thanks to the leadership of park champions like Representative Hurd, this bill will make a strong investment in our national parks that they desperately need and deserve. The momentum from this bipartisan compromise bill is promising and brings us one step closer to ensuring America’s national parks and all they stand for are protected now, and well into the future,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association.

“Adoption of H.R.1225 in the House Natural Resources Committee today is a key step toward fixing our parks and public lands. We look forward to Leadership moving this bipartisan legislation forward soon, ensuring that critical park resources, visitors, and local economies are protected for decades to come,” said Marcia Argust, who directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Restore America’s Parks campaign.

“Big Bend Conservancy commends the bipartisan action to move this important legislation forward.  Reducing the backlog of maintenance for the park service is critical to ensuring visitor safety and services on our shared public lands.  We thank each representative that supported this measure today,” said Courtney Lyons-Garcia, Executive Director, Big Bend Conservancy.

This bipartisan bill provides investments to reduce backlog in deferred maintenance projects by directing half of unallocated federal mineral revenues. Rep. Hurd cosponsored identical legislation last Congress.