Alexander Cosponsors Bill That Will Help Fund Improvements At Tennessee’s 12 National Parks

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday cosponsored legislation to help reduce the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service (NPS) saying the legislation is “good news for Tennessee’s national parks."

“This funding will help address the nearly $12 billion of the growing maintenance backlog in our national parks, including $232 million at Great Smoky Mountain National Park,” Senator Alexander said. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s greatest treasures – and it has a tremendous economic impact in East Tennessee. The Park attracts nearly twice the visitors of any other national park – and last year it broke its own record with more than 11 million visitors. Addressing the maintenance backlog will help attract even more visitors and create more jobs for Tennesseans. We must continue to work together to find solutions to the many challenges facing our public lands, and this legislation takes an important step toward doing that.”

On March 28, Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced the National Park Service Legacy Act, bipartisan legislation that would establish a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund – funded by existing federal oil and gas revenues – to help reduce the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service. Tennessee’s national parks have nearly $300 million in deferred maintenance projects. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park's $232 million in deferred maintenance includes $162 million for projects in Tennessee and $70 million for projects in North Carolina. This legislation could help provide funding to repair and rehabilitate buildings, improve park facilities and finish transportation projects in Tennessee’s national parks. 

According to the National Park Service, the annual maintenance needs of the 417 units in the National Park System are almost double the annual appropriations received by NPS – which causes the deferred maintenance costs to increase each year. President Trump and his Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, have made addressing the growing maintenance backlog a top priority. On April 4, the president donated $78,333 – his salary from his first few months in office – to the National Park Service to address infrastructure needs on our national battlefields. The National Park Service manages 25 national battlefields and military parks throughout the country, including four in Tennessee: Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Shiloh National Military Park and Stones River National Battlefield.

A Canoe Tour On Lookout Creek Set For July 27

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park would like to invite the public to participate in a free, two-and-a-half hour, family-friendly canoe tour with a ranger on Friday, July 27, at 9 a.m. National Park Parnters and the Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga will sponsor an event where visitors will paddle the quiet waters of Lookout Creek and learn about the rich Civil War ... (click for more)

TWRA Working To Stop Asian Carp

Biologists with TWRA monitor fish populations throughout the state, including species such as invasive forms of Asian carp. There are four species of Asian carp currently in Tennessee including bighead, black, grass and silver carp. Although concerned with all invasive species, TWRA focuses on the impact of silver carp which have greatly impacted west Tennessee.   ... (click for more)

Former Dalton High School Teacher Who Fired Gun At School Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To 2 Years

Jesse Randall Davidson, 53, formerly of 5219 Hwy 11, Rising Fawn, and formerly a teacher at Dalton High School, entered a guilty plea to criminal damage to property in the first degree, carrying a weapon within a school safety zone and disrupting the operation of a public school.  He was sentenced to serve two years in prison followed by eight years on probation on the first ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire On Workman Road Tuesday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched at 6:03 a.m. on Tuesday, to a commercial fire at 400 Workman Road. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were shooting through the roof and the request was immediately made for a second alarm response. The flames could be seen for miles as a total of 13 fire companies rushed to the scene. The large, two-story ... (click for more)

Bill Lee Is Great For Tennessee

I had the opportunity to meet Bill and Maria Lee at the grand opening of his Chattanooga Campaign HQ. He delivered, what was by most accounts, a showstopper speech at the Statesman’s dinner in Nashville the night before. He and Maria should have been worn out, but if they were, they really showed very little sign of it. His energy level, for a guy that couldn’t have gotten more ... (click for more)

A Successful East Ridge Bake Sale

Saturday's event at the Camp Jordan Pavilion was nothing more than extraordinary, if not history making.  Alongside the threatening eminent domain letters the citizens of East Ridge received, a Union was formed amongst the East Ridge Police Department.  Coming to City Council the night of April 26, I had only one thing I was focused on: eminent domain.  ... (click for more)