Trump Administration Announces $2.6 Million In Park Construction Projects Approved For Tennessee

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Wednesday announced $2.6 million in funding approved to rebuild critical national park infrastructure in Tennessee. The money will go to rehabilitate the Elkmont Waste Water System in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is part of $256 million going to a list of projects across the National Park Service to address dire maintenance and repair needs that contribute to the $11.6 billion backlog currently facing the nation’s parks.

Roads, bridges, trails, water systems and visitor centers—even bathrooms, campgrounds and drinking fountains—are all part of this critical, but often unnoticed, infrastructure framework. In 2017, 330 million people visited the 417 NPS sites across the country. The NPS completed over $650 million in maintenance and repair work in Fiscal Year 2017, but aging facilities, high visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010.

Secretary Zinke said, "The President is a builder, he loves to build and he loves our National Parks, so it is a natural fit that the Administration is dedicating so much attention to rebuilding our aging parks infrastructure. These approved projects are more than just line items on an Excel spreadsheet. They have a tangible effect on a person’s experience when visiting our nation’s parks. Today’s announcement is another step toward eliminating the more than $11 billion in maintenance facing the National Park Service. It’s another step toward prioritizing infrastructure because it is an investment that bolsters local economies and gateway communities. And it is another step in prioritizing access for all Americans to our public lands.”

“Over his two visits to the Smokies during the last year, Secretary Zinke has made clear his commitment to restoring our national parks,” said Senator Lamar Alexander. “This plan ends the discussion about whether to build the North Shore Road in the Smokies by providing a long overdue $35 million settlement payment to the residents of Swain County. The plan also includes $2.5 million to rehabilitate the Elkmont Waste Water System in the Smokies, which is one the Park’s visitors’ favorite campground spots.”

“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s great treasures, as well as the most visited national park in the country, making it a huge driver of East Tennessee’s economy,” said Congressman Phil Roe. “Providing funding for our national parks is not only critical to preserve these lands for future generations; it also ensures parks can continue to welcome millions of visitors from around the world each year. I thank Secretary Zinke for prioritizing funding for a sustainable and modern wastewater treatment system for the Elkmont Developed Area, and I know this important project will help protect Little River.”

Secretary Zinke has made tackling Interior’s deferred maintenance backlog one of his top priorities. In April, he signed a memorandum of understanding committing Interior to follow President Trump’s One Federal Decision framework for processing of environmental reviews and permits for major infrastructure projects. In March, Interior announced the Secretary’s partnership with Congress on abipartisan bill to address rebuild and repair National Park Service infrastructure.

Approved Fiscal Year 2018 National Park Service construction projects:


Project Title



George Washington Memorial Parkway

Repair Arlington Memorial Bridge.



National Mall and Memorial Parks

Restore Jefferson Roof and Portico.



Lowell National Historical Park

Replace Unsafe and Inefficient Windows of Boott Mill Museum.



Cape Cod National Seashore

Upgrade Visitor Access at Herring Cove Beach.



Yellowstone National Park

Rehab and Seismic Retrofit of Mammoth Hotel Guest Room Wings.



Fort Point National Historic Site

Repair Leaks in North Barbette Tier and Repoint Brick Masonry at Fort Point.



Channel Islands National Park

Replace Anacapa Stiff-Leg Derrick Crane with Two-Crane System.



Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Replace Plaza Paver System and Rehabilitate Visitor Center.



Vicksburg National Military Park

Stabilize Railroad Redoubt Earthworks.



Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Construct Electrical Intertie to Falls Creek Hydro Project - Renewable Energy & Sustainability.



Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rehabilitate Elkmont Waste Water System.



Valley Forge National Historical Park

Rehabilitate Visitor Center for Access, Safety, and Energy Efficiency.



Old Santa Fe Trail Building

Rehab Building for Seismic, Rehab Exterior Envelope and Historic Elements.



Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Replace Water Intake Barge with Shoreline Wells at Katherine Landing to Ensure Reliable Water Supply.



Death Valley National Park

Restore Flood-Damaged Historic Scotty's Castle Visitor Center.



Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Replace Old/Failing Primary Electrical Distribution Infrastructure.



Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Shore Road Monetary Settlement.



Mammoth Cave National Park

Reconstruct Unsafe Cave Trail Along Grand Avenue Tour Between Snowball and Grand Central.



Statue Of Liberty National Monument

Stabilize Ellis Island Seawall - Phase III.



National Capital Regional Office

Rehabilitate National Mall and Memorial Parks, US Park Police, and Regional Office Campus.



Yosemite National Park

Rehabilitate Wawona Wastewater Treatment Plant.



Glacier National Park

Rebuild/Reconstruct Sperry Chalet.



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