Letter: Langley, Make National Parks a priority in spending
February 7, 2017
Make National Parks a priority in spending
There's no question that Granby needs a thriving Rocky Mountain National Park. It is the lifeblood of our local economy. Every year, over 1 million of the park's 4 million visitors come through Granby to enjoy our family friendly charm and family friendly atmosphere. While they're here, these visitors generate significant income for our town. Once primarily a summer tourist destination, we now see strong visitation year round, particularly in the fall. Sales tax receipts reflect this increase: in 2015 receipts totaled $100,400—up from $55,360 in 2010. For this mutually beneficial relationship to continue, we will strive to meet the increased demand for parking, amenities and services to keep Granby's visitors happy and coming back. For its part, the National Park Service needs the resources to maintain and even expand the park's facilities. Despite increasing visitation every year since 2011, Rocky Mountain National Park—estimated to be the country's third most visited park has had its annual budget cut in recent years, resulting in a maintenance backlog of approximately $63 million. This deficit places a great deal of stress on the infrastructure essential to the visitor experience, including park roads, visitor centers, historic cabins, and trails. Consider the Little Buckaroo Barn. This National Register-listed barn tells an important story about homesteading in the Rocky Mountains in the 1940s, yet today it is shuttered. The recent conversion of the Trail River Ranch into space for education classes, artist-in-residence programs, and community events reveals how historic buildings can be reborn to engage new audiences through new uses, while paying homage to the Rocky Mountain landscape's rich history. To ensure that Rocky Mountain National Park continues to dazzle and delight, and for good of our local economy and quality of life, I urge the White House and Congress to make defraying the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog in our national parks a top priority for infrastructure spending.
Executive Director, Granby Chamber of Commerce