Mark Warner talks strategy with new Shenandoah National Park superintendent
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met virtually this week with Patrick Kenney, the new superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, on Thursday, to talk park priorities for 2021 and beyond.
The talk included discussion of Department of the Interior projects that were made possible by the passage of Sen. Warner’s legislation, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). During the meeting, Sen. Warner reiterated his commitment to seeing through the implementation of the GAOA and addressing the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog – an effort he has championed since 2017.
“America’s great outdoors are part of the heritage and beauty of our nation. But to preserve them, we need to quickly start tackling our parks’ deferred maintenance needs, which are only getting worse by the second,” said Sen. Warner. “I am committed to working with Superintendent Patrick Kenney to help protect, maintain, and preserve the public lands within his jurisdiction, particularly Shenandoah National Park, which will be receiving GAOA funds to help address a portion of the park’s nearly $90 million deferred maintenance backlog. While we may have cleared the hurdle of getting the GAOA passed and signed, our work is not done until this law is fully implemented and important repair and upkeep projects are tackled across the Commonwealth.”
On Monday at an outdoor and socially-distanced ceremony at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Sen. Warner was awarded the National Park Foundation’s Hero Award by Foundation President, Will Shafroth.
The award commemorates Sen. Warner’s work in getting the GAOA signed into law.
The Great American Outdoors Act is a product of Sen. Warner’s more than three years effort to provide relief to national parks in Virginia, where the maintenance backlog currently sits at $1.1 billion dollars. At Shenandoah National Park, the current maintenance backlog sits at $88,765,195. At Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park, the maintenance backlog sits at $823,242.