Mayor Rick Allen and the Leesville City Council recently passed a resolution recognizing the cultural, educational, recreational, and economic benefits America’s national parks provide to the City of Leesville and asking Congress to provide dedicated funding to fix park areas like Cane River National Heritage Trail.
The resolution was passed to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which is celebrated August 25. The resolution calls on Congress to give U.S. Park Rangers the resources they need to protect parks for the next 100 years. For example, areas of the Cane River Trail are closed to public tours due to deferred maintenance needs.
In light of a history of congressional underfunding, Congress is asked to create a reliable and predictable stream of resources to help the National Park Service (NPS) address deferred maintenance at its more than 400 sites across the country. It is estimated that the current backlog of overdue park repairs—including crumbling roads, rotting historic buildings, eroding trails, outdated public buildings, and safety hazards such as deteriorating water and electrical systems—totals $12 billion. In Louisiana, that total exceeds $11.5 million for just four areas in New Orleans, Natchitoches and Poverty Point.
Fixing parks will help support an important economic engine for Louisiana, as NPS reports that during 2015, state park visitors spent an estimated $28.3 million in local gateway regions like Leesville while visiting NPS sites. Such spending helps to support 439 Louisiana jobs and provides the state an economic boost of $36.7 million in labor and value added income.
To read the full report on Louisiana park contributions, go to https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm. See the Leesville resolution below.