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Reader Participation Day: Did The Stimulus Work Conquer All the Infrastructure Needs of Your Favorite Park?


Much has been made of the more than $750 million that was infused into the National Park System courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. But did that cash solve all the infrastructure woes in your favorite national park?

Tell us if serious needs still exist in your favorite park, be they tied to roads, hiking trails, or other visitor facilities. Hopefully we can shine a light on some of the work that remains to be done.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park received over $64 million as part of the ARRA. And they used it well. Most of it went to continue the Foothills Parkway. Some went to refurbish Roaring Fork Motor Trail. And the rest went to trail and restroom maintenance.
Is that all that's needed? A park is a living, breathing entity and needs ongoing maintenance. I could pinpoint hundreds of places on trails that need rehab. But that means ongoing money.

It certainly helped, but it will take many years and a lot more dollars to make up for so many years of pathetic neglect.

And there you go - Great Smoky Mountains got $64 million!  That is more than entire regions got!  The problem with the program was that there was no system to equitably distribute the money. Some parks got $50,000, but could have used 20 times that amount.  

Yeah, feed the beast or just the part that deserves it.

I believe that Going-to-the-Sun Road received some ARRA money.

But all the parks need some serious dough. We won't see it until attitudes change.

The Blue Ridge Parkway received only $13.3 million which is being used for reconstructing historic stone guard walls, removing vegetation and hazardous trees and repairing trails.  But the list of needs continues to grow as the Federal budget continues to shrink for the most visited unit in the National Park System.  Historical structures need restoration and repair, visitor facilities need modernization, and there is a 3-year backlog of normal maintenance work.

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