LETTERS: National parks need protection of Great American Outdoors Act

EDITOR: As we celebrate Memorial Day, it’s worth remembering that for over 100 years our national parks have honored and recognized those who have died serving our country.

In fact, national parks preserve and commemorate military history in at least 156 different sites across the country. These include national battlefields, military parks, forts, and cemeteries that preserve and interpret our nation’s military history.

Sadly, our national parks are crumbling because of unreliable funding and aging infrastructure. Things like buildings, historic markers, monuments, roads, and bridges need fixing. Repairs to our parks now exceed $12 billion. Roughly $6.2 billion of that is in park sites that honor our fallen heroes.

That’s why I’m grateful to see Senator Gardner and bipartisan leaders in the U.S. Senate announce their intention to pass the Great American Outdoors Act in early June. If enacted, it would help address critical repairs in our national parks and public lands by dedicating up to $9.5 billion over the next five years to the task. It also would fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Now is the time to fix our national parks. This legislation would put people back to work, spur local economies that depend on visitors, and preserve these iconic treasures for generations to come. Most importantly, it would honor those who have sacrificed everything for our country.

— Ryan Fitzgerald, via [email protected]