National Parks Week | NevadaAppeal.com

National Parks Week

Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson

Our public lands and national parks are not only economic engines for our state, adding billions to our economy and creating tens of thousands of jobs, but they are also at the heart of so many of our families’ collective memories. From boating at Lake Mead National Recreation Area to stargazing at Great Basin National Park, exploring and enjoying these treasures have been the centerpiece of many family gatherings. That is why, in honor of National Park Week, I am raising my voice on a critical issue that threatens the safety and future of our parks and public lands.

For decades, increased visitation, aging facilities and inconsistent federal funding have put many of Nevada’s gems on the endangered list. According to the National Park Service (NPS), national parks in Nevada face more than $150 million in backlogged maintenance for everything from roads and campgrounds to marinas and water systems.

Thankfully, our congressional delegation has stood up in a bipartisan fashion to tackle this issue. I am appreciative for the leadership that U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and Reps. Mark Amodei and Dina Titus have shown in joining together to co-sponsor S. 500 and H.R. 1225, the Restore our Parks and the Restore our Parks and Public Lands acts in the Senate and the House. The bills will address crucial infrastructure needs head on by creating a dedicated funding stream for NPS repair projects, ensuring that our parks and public lands get the attention necessary to allow safe and enjoyable usage from families across the state.

In the Nevada Legislature, we’ve spent a good deal of energy fighting to protect our pristine public lands from Lake Tahoe to Lake Mead and everything in between, so that they are not forsaken to our children and grandchildren. But without the bipartisan federal partnership of Cortez Masto, Rosen, Amodei and Titus, the fight would be in vain. Together, they are all leading the charge to protect the public lands that make Nevada the heart of the Golden West.

For their work and determination, my family and so many other Nevadans are grateful.