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Interior Secretary visits Zion to push for National Park improvements

Posted at 6:37 AM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 19:47:52-04

SOUTHERN UTAH -- Utah's National Parks could be on the cusp of a much-needed infusion of money to fix their crumbling roads, trails and buildings.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke spent the day in Zion National Park. He toured campgrounds in need of repairs and talked up a bill sponsored by Utah Representative Rob Bishop.

Bishop's bill, called the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, has bipartisan support.

It creates a way to fund the nearly $12 billion backlog in infrastructure needs in America's National Parks, Monuments and Recreation Areas.

Zinke says upgrades to existing parks would make it easier to create new parks and monuments in Utah.

"It's hard to justify building a new trail or a new park when we can't take care of what we have today," said Zinke.

The money for infrastructure would come from energy leases on federal land. About 50 percent of the proceeds from those leases would add up to about six and a half billion dollars over five years.