Letter: National parks face serious challenge
As an avid hiker in Shenandoah National Park and lover of our National Park System, I was happy to see the Augusta Free Press highlight National Trails Day and urge the public to come enjoy the park’s 500 miles of beautiful trails (“Celebrate National Trails Day…”). Shenandoah National Park offers amazing vistas, picturesque waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.
Unfortunately, Shenandoah and other national park sites across the country are facing a serious challenge: $12 billion in needed repairs and not enough funding to pay for them. This deferred maintenance backlog includes unmaintained trails, leaky roofs, and crumbling bridges. Park partners, including the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, play an important role in addressing some park needs but deferred repairs jeopardize the visitor experience and, if left unaddressed, the regional economies that rely on our parks for local revenue. Senator Mark Warner recently introduced a bill to address this important funding need to put our parks back on track. I hope the Congress follows his lead to protect Shenandoah and the rest of our national parks for our future enjoyment.
Letter from Stephanie Heidbreder/Alexandria, Virginia