Great American Outdoors Act Secures Funding to Preserve U.S National Parks

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore says they see 1.6 million visitors per year.

All that foot traffic is eventually leading to public parts of the park, like the trails, to wear down.

“It’s little things like trails, and picnic areas, roads, and things that are as simple as restrooms,” said Sleeping Bear Dunes Superintendent, Scott Tucker.

Those little projects have added up.

And now, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is stuck with a $16 million maintenance backlog.

Tucker says, “If you look at the state of Michigan with the other national parks here you’re looking at about a 50 million dollar maintenance backlog.”

Along signing the Great American Outdoors Act into law, President Trump also declared August 4th “Great American Outdoors Day.”

In the future, August 4th will be a fee-free day to celebrate the 105 national parks in the U.S and the new law that will help preserve them.

“The bill that was signed yesterday is going to infuse national parks nationwide over the next five years,” said Tucker.0e2cf3f5 3047 42ff Aa1a 09faf3f25cd2

He says his team has been working with limited funding, which has put some projects on the back burner.

“We try to take care of what we can for both natural resource preservation as well as visitor experience,” Tucker says.

This funding will also allow them to do what Tucker says they do best, attract visitors.

He says, “The big piece of national parks is to provide access for the American people. As well as, preserve and protect so that your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren can come to Sleeping Bear as well.”

Sleeping Bear says they already started looking into restoration projects for Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and Northern Manitou Island.