Pew Charitable Trusts Releases Data Visualization on $11B National Parks Maintenance Backlog

$11B: A Big Number made more Understandable

In its latest release, the Pew Charitable Trusts Restore America’s Parks initiative has helped to clarify the huge backlog in maintenance work at our National Parks by sharing charts and graphics showing how that large number is broken down into categories of work.

But, fair warning! You may find a surprise or two in the newly detailed list of project categories (at least, I did). For example, who knew that the National Park Service has responsibility for maintaining missile silos? Seriously, missile silos? Pew’s research adds definitions to each category, and yes, my eyes went straight to the definition for missile silos. “Missile Silos are defined as raised or underground structures that are used to store or fire missiles…,” the research tell us.  I’m still confused about that one.

I wish someone would let us know if any of this backlog has been included in the current budget, next year’s proposed budget, or simply getting kicked down the road for future generations.

How the work breaks down

Categories listed by Pew include in yesterday’s news release include:

  • Paved roads
  • Buildings
  • Parking areas
  • Marina/waterfront systems
  • Maintained landscapes
  • Road bridges
  • Trails
  • Water systems
  • Wastewater systems
  • Fortifications
  • Unpaved roads
  • Electrical systems
  • Interpretive media
  • Road tunnels
  • Maintained archeological sites
  • Constructed Roadways and boundaries
  • Monuments/memorials
  • Trail bridges
  • Communication systems
  • Railroad systems
  • Amphitheaters
  • Ships
  • Dams/levees/dikes
  • Fuel systems
  • Trail tunnels
  • Heating and cooling plants
  • Solid waste sytems
  • Aviation systems
  • Towers and missile silos

We recommend that you read the full Pew document (see link at the top of this article). In it, you will find not only the category breakdown, but additional details about the scope of each category and an estimated volume of work for each.

Check back here for updates as we get them.

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