As national parks grow in popularity, many of them are experiencing record-breaking visitations. The National Park Services decided to implement a new and improved assessment process that gives a more complete and timely understanding of the park facilities’ conditions and the cost of repairing them.
This plan will help better address and prioritize the current estimated $21.8 billion deferred maintenance and repair needs of national parks, according to a news release.
The new assessment process will also be more consistent with modern industry standards. It streamlines how the park service evaluates and gathers data to have a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the deficiencies and repairs the parks need nationwide.
The deferred maintenance and repairs estimate how much it would cost to repair and restore deteriorating facilities to an acceptable and safe condition. Its backlog is also created when routine maintenance and repairs are delayed due to limited resources, as per the news release.
In 2018, the National Park Service only estimated the cost of construction in its deferred maintenance figures without the full scope of construction-related costs, like design and management, except for transportation assets. Their current update accounts for the full and more accurate cost across all assets.
Since park infrastructure maintenance is a massive undertaking, the service maintains a complex portfolio of over 75,000 assets such as buildings, roads, bridges, trails, campgrounds, and utilities.
The total acres of national parks is 85 million acres which is larger than all but the four largest states and enjoyed by more than 300 million visitors each year, according to the news release.
By prioritizing the extensive repair backlog, safety issues, accessibility, energy efficiency, and new sustainable technology, the park can ensure the ongoing preservation of national parks and opportunities for public recreation, education, and leisure.
The Great American Outdoors Act and other facility funding sources are part of a concerted effort to maintain, rehabilitate, repair, or replace infrastructure in national parks. Each year from 2021 to 2025, the Great American Outdoors Act provides the National Park Service with up to $1.3 billion annually to fund deferred maintenance and repair projects.
Now that the review and development of the new condition assessment approach are complete, detailed fact sheets and information related to each park are available on the NPS website.