CASPER, Wyo — U.S. Senator Mike Enzi said America’s national parks are an important source of pride for our country, but are in desperate need of repair and maintenance that will cost nearly $12 billion, according to release from Enzi’s office.
Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, June 8, Enzi advocated for an amendment to the Great American Outdoors Act, which aims to address the maintenance backlog in national parks. However, Enzi said the legislation “represents a one-time fix that is neither responsible nor permanent,” according to the release.
Enzi said his amendment would address the backlog responsibly and permanently without adding to the debt.
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“Without some changes, this legislation will force our country to borrow more money, burying us deeper in debt, and only provide funding for five years,” Enzi said. “Fixing this bill will help ensure we no longer have to put our parks’ current obligations on the backs of future generations.”
Enzi’s amendment would increase fees for foreign visitors entering the country. The release cited a study by the U.S. Travel Association, saying nearly 40 percent of people who come to the U.S. from abroad are visit national parks, which amounts to more than 14 million people.
The amendment also raises entrance fees for citizens by $5 and annual passes by $20. He emphasized that the cost of bringing a vehicle into a park would still be cheaper than taking a family of four to a movie or visiting an amusement park for a day.
“No one likes to pay more for things, especially during times like these, but to maintain these national treasures for future generations, we either borrow money and put it on the national credit card, or we take some modest steps to address the issues responsibly,” Enzi said.