Hurd on the Hill: Restoring Our Parks

Contributor 

It is a top priority of mine to make sure our parks remain beautiful and accessible
By Rachel Holland
You may have heard that there’s a place in far West Texas where the night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. This isn’t simply folklore and is actually located right here in the 23rd District of Texas. I have the distinct honor of representing in Congress a total of eight national parks and historic sites, including Big Bend National Park described above, and our San Antonio Missions. It is a top priority of mine to make sure our parks remain beautiful and accessible for South and West Texas families to enjoy for generations to come.
Unfortunately, our parks are in dire need of repairs. In fact, last year in Texas alone, the National Park Service faced over $167 million in backlogged maintenance projects, including repairs to roads, visitor facilities, trails and other park structures. In many of these cases, buildings are crumbling, roads are inaccessible, trails are overgrown and sewer systems are at risk of failing – dramatically impacting the natural environment and visitor experience. To make matters worse, nearly 75 percent of deferred maintenance projects in Texas are in our TX-23 parks and historic sites, at a whopping cost of:
• $100,421,335 at Big Bend National Park;
• $6,937,728 at San Antonio Missions National Historic Park;
• $7,031,046 at Amistad National Recreational Area in Del Rio;
• $2,810,717 at Fort Davis National Historic Site; and,
• $6,411,208 at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the town Salt Flat in West Texas.