The opening of new visitors' center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is refocusing attention on some of the park's other need.
Sen. Rob Portman was at the park on Friday for the opening of the new Boston Mill Visitor Center, and took the opportunity to remind the crowd of the Restore Our Parks Act. The bill would create a fund to address maintenance within the National Park System.
Pamela Barnes – the CVNP’s community engagement supervisor – says some of the most pressing needs are restoration projects related to two of the park’s most popular attractions.
“The railroad – that includes the railroad ties, bridges and culverts – and it also includes the river bank next to the railroad and the Towpath Trail as well.”
Portman is the co-author of the Restore Our Parks Act, which proposes taking half of the royalties from on-shore and off-shore energy projects and creating a new fund for the parks.
“For those of you who have been on the railroad – I’m sure many of you have – which I love travelling on, those tracks have to be repaired. And guess whose responsibility it is? This park. There’s no way in their annual appropriations that they can cover the cost of fixing that railroad track.”
Portman added that the funds are also needed for buildings within the park that either need to be restored or demolished. Ohio’s other U.S. Senator – Democrat Sherrod Brown – is a co-sponsor of the bill.
A similar bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee in June.