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.

Bridgestone Donates 6,000-Acre Tract Near Sparta, Tn., To The Nature Conservancy

Bridgestone has donated a 6,000-acre tract in White County, Tn., to the The Nature Conservancy. The property is near Sparta about 80 miles east of Nashville. The tract will be called the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain.  It represents the largest donation received by The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. The donation will offset some of the carbon ... (click for more)

Reflection Riding Holds Spring Native Plant Sale This Weekend

Reflection Riding is holding its Spring Native Plant Sale selling the region's best selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials.  Here is the schedule: Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale and Earth Day Festival.  Native plants, grown for a variety of garden conditions, are beautiful, sustainable, and contribute ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Arrest Robbery Suspects Within Hours Of Holdup; Citizen Takes Quick Photo Of Suspect Vehicle

Chattanooga Police officers arrested two suspects involved in an armed robbery within hours of the incident. Officers responded to an armed robbery call at 5966 Brainerd Road  at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The victim told police she was exiting her vehicle when she was approached by a white male pointing a handgun at her demanding her purse and cell phone. The victim ... (click for more)

WACKER-Charleston Taking Initial Steps To Restart Polysilicon Production After Explosion Shut Facility Last September

WACKER-Charleston announced Thursday it has resumed operations for the production of polysilicon. Using a phase-in approach, WACKER has begun the initial start-up of the site, beginning with distillation. The initial production of polysilicon is targeted to begin in the next few weeks. WACKER anticipates the Charleston site will reach full capacity in the fourth quarter ... (click for more)

Keep The Gifted Program In The Hamilton County Schools - And Response (2)

I currently have a daughter in fourth grade at Lookout Valley Elementary and a daughter in the eighth grade at Lookout Valley Middle High School. Both of my daughters are very good students, as well as being very good people. I am writing today with a concern. I was made aware that the Hamilton County Department of Education is considering cutting the gifted program ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A True Tennessean

“Last week I told some Republican friends who have held high office, traditional and true Republicans, who like you are both conservative and compassionate, Christians in their personal faith and public service,” the email began. “These are Tennessee Republicans that I have known for decades, and whom I'd trust with my life and my wife … I told them that my views and values make ... (click for more)