Dollars for the Dunes if the Great American Outdoors Act passes Congress

Indiana Dunes National Park and many other national parks could get some help if the Great American Outdoors Act passes Congress Wednesday. The Act would provide money to help fix crumbling roads and buildings that have been in disrepair for years.

“The Great American Outdoors Act…would provide about $6.5 billion over five years to address the disreapirs that national parks are experiencing,” said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Assoc.

“Staffing has decreased over the years and visitor numbers have really skyrocketed and the overall backlog is about $12 billion in needed repairs,” she said.

One of Indiana’s national parks, in fact, the newest one, would benefit from the money.

“Indiana Dunes National Park alone has a $28 million backlog in needed repairs,” said Pierno. “Many of the repairs are the historic buildings, the visitors center. Some have been structurally unsound for years and have been closed to the public.”

Pierno said that’s just one example of how parks across the country could get some needed repairs for trails, roads and buildings. She said more than 100,000 jobs could be added. Some of those could be park rangers. Others would be people making repairs.

“This bill would tremendously help Indiana, as well as local communities around the country. Every dollar invested in our national parks brings about $10 to the local economy.”

Pierno said the bill has support from both Democrats and Republicans.

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