Thank you Rep. Suzanne Bonamici for supporting Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and all our national parks through your sponsorship of the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (“Bonamici backs funding bill in Lewis and Clark National Historic Park visit,” The Daily Astorian, Aug. 16).
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is an important part of our local and national history. The bill the congresswoman is supporting will help the park address needed repairs and improvements that result from aging facilities, increased visitation and insufficient congressional funding.
The deferred maintenance backlog for Lewis and Clark alone grew by nearly $700,000 from 2016 to 2017, and the cumulative deferred maintenance in all national parks in Oregon grew by more than $10 million. Like a leaky roof on a house, the longer we go without addressing these critical repairs, the more expensive the fix will become.
This bill finally will give the National Park Service (NPS) a dedicated funding stream to address repairs for visitor centers, trails, and water systems so that our parks are accessible, safe, and enjoyable, which is important culturally and economically.
Lewis and Clark visitors spent an estimated $16.8 million in local gateway communities in 2017, according to NPS. That spending supported 260 jobs, many of which, it is safe to say, were in Clatsop County.
Lewis and Clark is a treasure that gives back to our county in many ways. Bravo to Rep. Bonamici for her efforts to support legislation that will safeguard that resource for generations to come.
Clatsop County Commissioner District 5