An analysis commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts and prepared by Cadmus Group shows that investing in the maintenance of our national parks could create or support more than 2,261 jobs here in Massachusetts and 110,169 jobs across the country.
“Investing in our Massachusetts national parks would create good jobs here at home in our state, while also restoring and repairing some of our state’s leading landmark destinations,” said Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director of Historic Boston Incorporated. “Our national parks in Massachusetts and across the country have been neglected for too long while the list of backlogged repairs has continued to grow.”
More than 10 million people flocked to visit Massachusetts national parks last year, spending more than $521 million in park gateway communities.
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 This deferred maintenance includes crumbling roads, deteriorating historic buildings, impassable trails, and outdated utility systems, all of which can negatively impact visitor access and safety, the protection of our nation’s history, and local communities that depend on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 Massachusetts, Boston’s three national park sites, including many popular stops along Boston’s Freedom Trail, need more than $135 million in repairs and maintenance. Also, the Cape Cod National Seashore faces a backlog of almost $44 million in funds required to restore full access to the pristine and scenic landscape. If an investment were made to fully address the deferred maintenance at all 15 of the National Park Service sites in our state, it could create 2,261 jobs in Massachusetts.
“We are proud of our Massachusetts national parks which provide amazing opportunities for our visitors to immerse themselves in unparalled recreational, historical, and educational experiences. They are also critical economic drivers for all of the communities that host and border our parks,” said Kottaridis. “Investing in the infrastructure of our national parks in a win-win for our state as it could create thousands of jobs while also helping to restore and protect our Massachusetts national parks and preserve access to the unparalleled experiences that they offer.”
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 us celebrate and commemorate our history, marvel at natural wonders, and enjoy a myriad of recreational activities. By investing in national park sites we will create jobs and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy them and learn from our nation’s story.