ALAMOSA — An analysis commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts and prepared by Cadmus Group shows that investing in the maintenance of national parks could create or support more than 2,209 jobs in Colorado, and 110,169 jobs across the country.
“This new projection shows that investing in our national parks pays off right here in our state by creating good jobs,” said Alamosa County Commissioner Chairman Darius Allen. “Many national parks, like the Great Sand Dunes National Park have waited too long for these needed and backlogged repairs.”
The National Park Service (NPS) reports it has more than 42,000 assets across its 400-plus sites that have overdue infrastructure repairs and that fixing them will cost approximately $11.3 billion (based on 2016 data). This deferred maintenance includes crumbling roads, deteriorating historic buildings, impassable trails, and outdated utility systems, all of which can negatively impact visitor access and safety, the protection of our nation’s history, and local communities that depend on park visitation for economic survival.
In Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park needs repairs that including roads, parking lots, and area signage. If an investment were made to fully address the deferred maintenance in all of the park units in our state, it could create 2,209 jobs in the state.
“Our national parks are not only important places to visit—offering educational and recreation opportunities to visitors—they are proven economic drivers for gateway communities such as Alamosa,” said Alamosa County Commissioner Michael Yohn. “Infrastructure-related jobs will help to ensure the longevity of parks in Colorado, maintain a positive visitor experience, and benefit gateway businesses and state marketing plans that revolve around parks.
Park rangers have had their hands tied because they have not received adequate and reliable congressional funding to make the necessary repairs at sites that are often decades old and are experiencing pressure from increased visitation.
NPS sites help celebrate and commemorate history, marvel at natural wonders, and enjoy a myriad of recreational activities. Investing in national park sites will create jobs and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy them.
Alamosa County Commissioner Helen Sigmond added, “The board of county commissioners passed a resolution this past fall asking Congress to put together a plan so infrastructure needs are met across the country, but especially at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We all enjoy this local treasure.”