Alexander Will Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Provide More Funding For National Parks

Friday, February 23, 2018
Senator Lamar Alexander spoke with members of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Friday about legislation he will introduce in the coming weeks to help address the $215 million backlog of projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 
 
Senator Alexader said, "The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – as well as other national parks across our state and our country -- are struggling with a backlog of maintenance needs that are not being addressed. The maintenance backlog – which includes roads, buildings, campgrounds, trails, water systems and more – limits access to our national parks and diminishes visitors’ experience,” Alexander said.
“In the Smokies, the maintenance backlog exceeds $200 million – and around 75 percent 80 percent of that is roads. Park employees and volunteers are filling this gap and doing a lot of things we take for granted.  Last year, roughly 2,800 volunteers donated nearly 115,000 hours to the Smokies – helping to maintain trails, serving as campground hosts and doing all kinds of things to make visitors feel welcome and learn more about the park.
 
“President Trump and Secretary Zinke have made addressing the growing maintenance backlog a top priority, and I agree we have a responsibility to address the growing maintenance backlog in our national parks. This is an issue Congress has been focused on for many years, and working with Secretary Zinke, I hope to introduce legislation in the coming weeks with some of my colleagues to help restore and rebuild our parks.
 
“The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s treasures – and it has a tremendous economic impact in East Tennessee, attracting nearly twice the visitors of any other national park. Addressing the $215 million backlog of projects in the Smokies will help attract even more visitors, bring more good jobs to East Tennessee and ensure future generations can enjoy the outdoors like we have.”
 
President Trump included the proposal to help address the National Park Service maintenance backlog in his infrastructure plan and the Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talked about the importance of addressing the maintenance backlog when he visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the senator in August to mark the 101st anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.
 


2019 First Day Hike At The Prater’s Mill Historic Site Set For Jan. 1

State Parks Host Free Hikes To Bring In The New Year

Riverpark Boat Ramp Closed Due To Rising Water


On New Year's Day, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 at 3 p.m. at the Prater’s Mill Historic Site there will be a hike organized on the Norma Gordon Nature Loop and the Prater’s Mill Greenway. The guided ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes at 55 state parks as part of the annual First Day Hike program across the state. “This is a great way to start off that New Year’s resolution ... (click for more)

The Riverpark Boat Ramp has been closed due to rising waters. The fishing piers remain open. (click for more)


Outdoors

2019 First Day Hike At The Prater’s Mill Historic Site Set For Jan. 1

On New Year's Day, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 at 3 p.m. at the Prater’s Mill Historic Site there will be a hike organized on the Norma Gordon Nature Loop and the Prater’s Mill Greenway. The guided nature trail hike is appropriate for both children and adults, and will be led by Greg Bruner. Hikers are asked to meet on the porch of the mill at 3 p.m. Bring water, binoculars and ... (click for more)

State Parks Host Free Hikes To Bring In The New Year

Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes at 55 state parks as part of the annual First Day Hike program across the state. “This is a great way to start off that New Year’s resolution to be more active, and we’re glad Tennessee State Parks can offer these free hikes,” said Brock Hill, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Local Boy Scout Council Says It Is Financially Sound Despite Woes At National Level

The Cherokee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which serves 11 counties in Tennessee and northwest Georgia, has informed its executive board, donors, supporters, and volunteers that the local organization remains financially strong in light of recent national news stories concerning consideration of bankruptcy at the national level of the organization. Officials said, ... (click for more)

Corker Offers Resolution Condemning Murder Of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will introduce on Thursday a Senate joint resolution holding Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post. The resolution condemns Khashoggi’s killing and insists on accountability for those involved ... (click for more)

Opinion

Tom Caldwell Was Always A Champion For Orange Grove

Tom Caldwell was a devoted husband, father of four children and 13 grandchildren, veteran of World War II, Howard University law school graduate, church member and outstanding corporate, tax and estate planning attorney at three of Chattanooga's leading law firms. His family, personal, legal, military, religious and civic duties are too many to list. As a member of the Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Best Breakfast Ever

As I have grown older, I have grown more peculiar. I love having so many wonderful friends who I’ll see out in the mornings, all hail and hardy, but most of the time I enjoy having breakfast by myself. Hear me out: whether it is the Cracker Barrel, the Bluegrass Café or any number of other places I enjoy, most often there are delightful people who invite me to share their table ... (click for more)