Letter: Protect America’s favorite places

First Published      Last Updated Mar 18 2017 07:45 am

As Tom Wharton noted ("Utah's Zion outranks Yellowstone for number of visits," March 13), America's national parks are more popular than ever. As Utahns, we are experiencing, first hand, this double-digit growth in park visits.

It is encouraging that our new secretary of interior, Ryan Zinke, notes not only how important our national parks are for the landscapes they preserve, but also the protection and interpretation they provide for the heritage we all share and their extraordinary contribution to our local economy.

Protecting these places and managing the rapid growth in visitation is a very difficult duty for our able National Park Service. It is even more challenging when park infrastructure struggles to support this demand. Zinke appropriately notes that the $12 billion dollar infrastructure backlog must be addressed.

At Zion, alone, there is a $70 million backlog need that must be filled and Canyonlands needs over $43 million.

To protect our parks and visitors' experience within them, the administration and Congress need to work to ensure national parks have the resources and support they need to make these repairs and continue protecting America's favorite places.

David Nimkin

Salt Lake City