(NBC News) – America’s parks are getting a much needed facelift.
Congress recently approved the “Great American Outdoors Act,” which will provide $6 billion for much needed maintenance.
“This would be the biggest investment in our parks and public lands since World War II,” says Marcia Argust, project director of Restore America’s Park Program.
Most years, more than 300 million people visit the 419 National Park sites, but many of those parks are crumbling.
The new funding will help address a $12 billion backlog of needed repairs.
Travel expert Jeanenne Tornatore says aside from the obvious beauty of places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or the Grand Tetons, there is a bigger takeaway from visiting.
“Simply the recognition of the conservation that’s needed within our country,” Tornatore says.
Maintaining the parks is critical not only for wildlife and the ecosystem, but for the communities surrounding many of these national treasures.
“Taking care of our parks ensures that those 300 million visitors are going to continue coming, and when that happens they are spending dollars in local communities, up to $20 billion each year,” Argust says.