ALBANY, N.Y. — From the Statue of Liberty to Niagara Falls there are more than 30 national parks and monuments across New York that could benefit from a bill expected to pass in the Senate this week.
The Great American Outdoors Act would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog at national parks and monuments.
That’s great news to Jacqueline Izzo, the mayor of Rome, N.Y., home to the Fort Stanwix National Monument, a wooden revolutionary war era fortress that attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year.
“It preserves our American history and any funding that can come from the federal government to preserve these historic sites is a welcome sign for us,” Izzo states.
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A companion bill also is expected to pass in the House and President Donald Trump has said he will sign the measure when it reaches his desk.
Marcia Argust, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Restore America’s Parks campaign, points out that the measure would use non-taxpayer money derived from energy development on public lands to repair and preserve historic sites.
“In doing so, it would also create jobs, and that’s really important right now to help the country get back on its economic feet,” she states.
Every year 19 million people come to New York to visit national park sites, generating about 7,000 jobs statewide.
Izzo notes that the Fort Stanwix National Monument employs about 50 local residents and is a major contributor to her city’s economy.
“They service over 100,000 visitors a year,” she points out. “Their economic impact would be in the multi-millions of dollars each tourism season, and then of course the sales tax that they generate is very important to us as well.”
The Great American Outdoors Act would direct up to $9.5 billion over five years to priority repairs in national parks and public lands.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.