Needed work at one of the most popular tourists destinations in the West is piling up on the park service.
Death Valley National Park has deferred maintenance projects totaling almost $155 million, according to the National Park Service. The number is for fiscal year 2015.
Deferred maintenance is work that needs to be conducted on infrastructure at national parks including roadways, campgrounds and trails, among others.The park service explained its deferred projects feature about an even mix of half transportation and half non-transportation projects.
The national amount of deferred maintenance work sits at $11.9 billion, which is up from the $11.49 billion reported at the end of FY2014.
The National Park Service is set to receive an additional $90 million in 2016 to be used toward non-transportation maintenance. In addition, Congress also passed a new highway bill that will increase the amount of money for transportation projects in parks this year by $28 million.
The funding for transportation-related projects will increase each year for the next five years, until 2020 when the amount will be at $300 million per year.
“The funds Congress provided for 2016 will help us as we move toward the goal of restoring our highest priority non-transportation assets to good condition,” said Mike Reynolds, Death Valley superintendent. “With Congress still considering a centennial bill, we look forward to having additional resources to reach the goal of having those high priority assets restored to good condition.”
Death Valley’s maintenance backlog grew by almost $50 million in October when flash flooding caused major damage to buildings at the Scotty’s Castle complex as well as three park roads.
“Although we are continuing to address our deferred maintenance backlog across the park, the repairs at Scotty’s Castle are a priority,” Reynolds said. “This historic treasure is beloved by visitors and we want to restore access to the area as soon as we can.”
Contact reporter Mick Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.