Vail Daily letter: Legislation would provide funding for parks | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Legislation would provide funding for parks

Legislation would provide funding for parks

Mikah Meyer’s epic road trip to visit all 417 U.S. National Park Service sites (“National Park legend,” Sunday, May 28) helps bring to light the riches of our national park system, both the household names such as Yosemite and those lesser-known gems that commemorate our country’s historic, natural and cultural treasures and the funding constraints facing them.

Unfortunately, inconsistent and insufficient federal funding of our national parks is taking a toll, and not simply in the form of broken links on the park websites the 31-year-old relied on for trip planning. After decades of underfunding, NPS’s infrastructure repair backlog is estimated at $12 billion, and more than half of the National Park Service’s assets are in need of repairs, yet its budget has been reduced by 40 percent during the past decade.

In Colorado, all 12 of our national parks need a total of $204 million in repairs. Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde require the most maintenance, with millions in upgrades needed to repair structures, roads, parking lots and trails; restore historic buildings and stabilize archaeological sites. There is now a solution to this problem.

New, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress that would address the backlog by creating a dedicated federal funding stream for national park maintenance. The National Park Service Legacy Act would dedicate time and investments to repairing NPS’s roads, facilities and park structures, including the 27,000 historic properties in our National Parks that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Our Colorado delegation should support this much-needed legislation. Doing so would ensure we preserve historic buildings and sites and have infrastructure that is safe and serviceable. Our parks must remain open and accessible, so the public will continue to learn and experience these places that tell our nation’s history. We have a responsibility to ensure our parks are maintained and preserved so future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from them, as we do.

Barbara Pahl

Vice president, Field Services,

National Trust for Historic Preservation, Denver

Thank you for your support

Food Rescue Express Food for Kids Backpack Program wants to thank Amy, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Keith and Mike for making the backpack program a success. To Epic Promise, Wells Fargo, Umbrella Roofing and Alpine Bank: Thank you for your generous support. Also, thank you to the Vail Mountain School fifth-grade class for their food drive, and thank you to the Eagle County Disc Golf Society for their food drive and fundraiser.

This school year, we fed 1,766 kids and packed and delivered 10,596 meals to nine schools. We are now starting our eighth year for the Food for Kids Backpack Program. We are also pleased to announce that we will be continuing the backpack program through the summer. The school district is having preschool year-round, and we will be delivering food for the kids.

During the regular school year, we work with preschool and kindergarten through eighth-grades. We thank the school district for letting us into their schools. We will be doing our annual food drive in the fall and will keep you posted. If you would like to learn more about our program, then you can visit our website at foodrescueexpress@gmail.com.

Toni Berns

Managing director, Food Rescue Express