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Happy belated birthday, National Park Service!

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Good morning, friends, and welcome to the weekend!

Yesterday marked the centennial of the National Park Service. For 100 years, the National Park Service has worked to protect valuable pieces of American history and our majestic natural wonders.

Unfortunately, our national parks face a backlog of maintenance projects that total about $12 billion. What does this mean for visitors? Visitors centers in disrepair, crumbling trails, and deteriorating roads and bridges.

Yosemite National Park, for example, faces more than $555 million in overdue maintenance projects. Ten years ago, officials identified problems with the park’s sewer collection system; today, it remains in disrepair, with raw sewage spilling into the park’s waterways.

Yosemite also showcases 2,000-year-old sequoias. Unfortunately, the park’s dilapidated water lines threaten the survivability of 500 of the great trees. Each day, the lines, installed in 1932, pour nearly 40,000 gallons of chlorinated water into the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

And while our national parks fall into further disrepair, the federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire new national park lands.

Enter Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Chairman Bishop has introduced legislation, the Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation Act, which would reduce funding available for land acquisition and devote it instead to maintenance of existing parks. The hundreds of millions of visitors who venture to America’s national parks each year would benefit from the bill’s enactment.

For more on the problem of the $12 billion maintenance backlog and a solution to address it, check out our Solutions Center on restoring our national parks.

Happy (belated) birthday to the National Park Service. Now let’s get to work tending to our parks.

Enjoy your weekend, and make your way to one of our national parks.