Finding money to restore and repair the parks won’t be easy during the current fiscal crisis. But delaying will only raise the cost. “It’s just like your house. If you don’t do that routine maintenance, you’re going to have a big bill staring at you. And the bill is growing,” Mr. Repanshek says.
The maintenance challenges are huge. The NPS’s 58 national parks and 333 monuments and historic sites contain some 680 water-treatment and wastewater systems, 505 dams, 1,804 bridges and tunnels, 8,500 miles of roads, 775 campgrounds, and 12,250 miles of trails, as well as 84.6 million acres of land. “Many national parks are little cities unto themselves,” says Phil Voorhees, a senior fellow at the NPCA.