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Montana Legislature: Fully Fund Park Service


   Here's an interesting bit of news: the Montana Legislature has sent an overwhelming message to that state's congressional delegation that the National Park Service should be fully funded.
    Forty-five of the 50 state senators and 77 of the 100 representatives backed state Senator Dan Weinberg's resolution calling on the congressional delegation to initiate actions that result in full funding of the National Park Service annual operations budgets and in elimination of maintenance and road repair backlogs for all park, battlefield, and monument units by the National Park System centennial in 2016.
    If you've been paying attention, you know the Park Service's backlog is hovering right around $8 billion.
    "Montanans understand how valuable these national treasures are to our quality of life and economy. National parks, battlefields, and monuments are part of our identity as Montanans," Weinberg said in urging support for the resolution. "It is past time for Congress to take action to restore these great national treasures that serve as valuable economic engines for the state and the Flathead Valley.
    The National Park Conservation Association's Whitefish, Montana-based program manager, Will Hammerquist, applauded the senator's resolution.
    "Not only were legislators unified in their support for national parks, often disparate businesses, conservation groups, chambers of commerce, and local governments also rallied testimony favoring this resolution," he said. "Clearly, our state is united in recognizing that Glacier and our other national parks are a major driver of our economic vitality and high quality of life."

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