You are here

Reader Participation Day: What Needs Fixing In The National Parks?


The latest estimate for the National Park Service's maintenance backlog stands at $12 billion, though that number might be padded just a bit by lofty renovation plans. Still, there's a lot to be fixed around the parks.

Roads that are potholed, buildings that could use more than just a little paint, electrical systems that were designed for the 20th, not 21st, century. There are chairs that are not sturdy, door frames that are cracked, tiles that need to be replaced, asphalt trails in front-country areas that are crumbling, boardwalks that could use some replacement boards. And that's just the short list.

What maintenance needs have you seen in your travels about the National Park System? Let's build a list of what needs fixing out there.


As a form of cyclic maintenance, a thorough housecleaning of NPS management should be at the top of the list:

What needs fixing? Let me count the ways.

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Boogerman Trail, one of most popular trails in the park, has been missing at least four bridges. With the new (acting) superintendent, there's a chance that the main bridge will be replaced. The other three on Caldwell Fork go across smaller streams and may wait a while.

Another popular trail, Ramsey Cascades, is missing a crucial bridge. I'm leading a Friends of the Smokies hike on the trail in May. I sure hope it is fixed by then. I have another candidate hike in my back pocket but Ramsey Cascades is something to see.

The three parks in St. Croix, the Virgin islands,  could use a lot more attention. See /2014/02/exploring-parks-christiansted-national-historic-site24599

And Tuskegee National Historic Site where I'm going next could at least have enough personnel to answer the phone.                           

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide