Outdoor News - August 24, 2018
New Mexico and Park Backlog
August 20, 2018 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The economic benefit of New Mexico's national parks to local communities is enormous, but it is threatened due to a lack of maintenance – a problem Congress has an opportunity to fix.
Bipartisan legislation now under consideration would provide funding to address the nation's $12 billion maintenance backlog.
Los Alamos County Councilor Susan O'Leary says New Mexico's parks provide not only jobs, but economic benefits to gateway communities. "New Mexico is a state that is very dependent on tourism as an economic driver,” she explains. “But if the Parks Service is not funded to maintain its basic infrastructure, then this is a lost opportunity."
New Mexico park sites are estimated to have $123 million in deferred repairs. The Restore Our Parks Act would provide up to $6.5 billion nationally over five years to address the backlog.
There are 400 sites managed by the National Park Service across the country. According to Yaron Miller, and officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts' Restore America's Parks campaign, all of them need various infrastructure upgrades.
"These repairs include deteriorating historic buildings, unsafe roads, eroding trails, outdated campgrounds and broken bathrooms, crumbling monuments and degraded water, sewer and electrical systems," he states.
Nearly 2 million people visited national parks in New Mexico in 2016, spending an estimated $108 million in local economies. The park system also supports 1,700 jobs. O'Leary says all 15 New Mexico sites enhance the quality of life for local residents, but she notes that adequate infrastructure, easy access and clear signage are essential.
"The parks need to be in top shape,” she stresses. “They need to be delivering what the visitors are expecting so supporting funding to do these maintenance projects only makes sense as an economic driver."
Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM
Newspapers on LWCF
Newspapers across the U.S. are coming out in favor of reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I was unable to finding opposing viewpoints. Here is a sampling:
Arizona Capitol Times:
"We need to keep LWCF alive and well so that it may help to keep not only veterans, but all of us more alive and well."
"We encourage other members of Congress and their constituents to get behind the push to support the LWCF regardless of the Trump administration’s indifference toward conservation."
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:
"For a state where the great outdoors represents a sizable chunk of the economy, the LWCF is an indispensable tool to protect and grow that resource."
"Congress should permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Precious natural spaces, waterways and habitats that took millions of years to form should never be left to the mercy of fickle political winds."
The Denver Post:
"This is a critical tool for fulfilling our basic responsibility to give the next generation the same opportunities our parents and grandparents gave to us. It is time for Congress to stop the serial, short-term extensions of this program and make LWCF permanent with the full dedicated funding it deserves."
The Post Standard
(Syracuse): "But without action, the LWCF will expire on Sept. 30. If Congress does not renew this program -- or reduces its funding -- New Yorkers, and all Americans, will lose out."
"We must insist that our members of Congress support the permanent reauthorization and funding of the LWCF by Sept. 30 to protect God’s creation — including Virginia’s precious public lands — for future generations."
The Times-Tribune (Scranton):
"Therefore, it’s urgent to contact our federal representatives and demand they permanently reauthorize the LWCF with full funding so that we can create and protect those special places that are so important to all of us."
Tri-City Herald (Kennewick):
"But a program that does so much good without using any tax money needs a long-term commitment from Congress. Perhaps it could be re-authorized for another 50 years. That worked well enough the first time around."
Knox News (Knoxville):
"We urge Alexander, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and those who serve Tennessee to vote to reauthorize the LWCF and ensure that our incredible natural assets can be enjoyed today and by generations to come. "
"You can show your appreciation by urging your members of Congress to support the funds’ permanent reauthorization and by making it clear to congressional candidates that voters support the LWCF."
Outdoor Recreation & Tourism Management
The University of Wyoming has its new Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management degree ready to offer to students this fall.
The degree will train students to connect people to the outdoors in one of the West’s fastest-growing industries. They will gain understanding of business, people and culture, environment and natural resources, recreation, and tourism in the classroom and outside.
A BS in ORTM from the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources emphasizes:
- Stewardship and conservation of natural resources
- Tourism and outdoor recreation theories and best practices
- Entrepreneurial and business management strategies
- Creating outstanding visitor experiences
- Broad understanding of cultural and natural resources
Find all the details at www.uwyo.edu/haub/academics/undergraduate-students/bs-in-ortm.html
New Walker River Park in Nevada
Last spring, the Nevada Division of State Parks received a $1,091,451 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to develop the brand new Walker River State Recreation Area. The funds were used to develop the Pitchfork Ranch portion of the park.
The century-old Pitchfork Ranch, located near Yerington, Nevada, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with 7 miles of the celebrated East Walker River open for exploration. Visitors are invited to experience camping, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, kayaking, fishing, or simply relaxing in an idyllic country setting.
Park staff invites you to join them for a special grand opening celebration on Saturday, September 22 at the Pitchfork Ranch for a fun-filled day of activities including: Dutch-oven cooking, archery, fishing clinics, nature walks, hay rides, children’s games and a BBQ.
WHAT: Walker River State Recreation Area Grand Opening
Special Savings for Our Readers
WHEN: Saturday, September 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Pitchfork Ranch, 211 East Walker Road, Yerington, Nevada
COST: The park entrance fee is waived for this event.
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Video of the Week
This week's video features a backpacking trip into the Cloud Peak Wilderness located within the Big Horn National Forest. Lots of snow, water, rocks,the 13,175 foot high Cloud Peak and lots of outstanding scenery. Enjoy!