National Park Service suffers $12 billion maintenance backlog

Kimberly Suiters

- ABC7
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - There are little fixes, mid-sized repairs, and very big renovations involved in the repair of the Washington monument, which despite being scaffolding-free, is still closed until May.
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"Little disappointed...would have been nice to take the elevator to the top," said tourist Michelle Tuxhorn.
Every dent, dip, and ding is maintained by the National Park Service, but in recent years, its construction budget has been cut in half. And Clarence Perry from Germantown has noticed:
“It looks like they're letting it go down for some reason."
A pretty dramatic case-in-point is the sea wall here on Haines Point; there is a sidewalk here, it just happens to be under 18 inches of water.
The NPS has a $12 billion maintenance backlog, but according to its conservation spokesperson John Garder, "the National Park Service is a huge return on investment," and that "every dollar invested returns $10 in economic activity."
In 2012, 23 million visitors to Virginia brought in $900 million, 34 million tourists in D.C. dished out $600 million, and six million Maryland sightseers spent $271 million. Hundreds of those dollars came from the Grindean family of five.
"Meals, parking, it's fortunate -- all things free of cost," said tourist Kim Grindean.
Although the upkeep of our national parks are anything but free, it’s an experience that still remains priceless.
"It means everything. It's unbelievable. I can't put in words what everyone has done for us," said WWII veteran, Al Dunnam.