Legislation to fund billions in deferred maintenance in national parks gets a hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. The Restore Our Parks Act would set up a fund dedicated to national parks using money from onshore and offshore drilling for oil, gas, and minerals. Bob Sutherland is president of Cherry Republics, a cherry retailer in northern Michigan. He tells us his company and many others rely on the national park system to draw in tourists, who make up the bulk of their customer base.
“The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore brings over a million people to our region. And the key to bringing them up is a healthy national park system. The quality of those restrooms and campgrounds, the trails, is critical.”
The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on National Parks will consider the bipartisan bill, which is a compromise between several previous proposals. It would establish a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund, and raise up to $1.3 billion a year for the next five years.