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.
 


Riverpark Boat Ramp Reopens

Body Of Missing Fisherman, Paul Irwin, 72, Recovered From Douglas Lake

Raccoon Mountain Half Marathon Listed On The BibRave 100


The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department reports the Riverpark Boat Ramp has now reopened. (click for more)

The body of a missing fisherman was recovered on Thursday from Douglas Lake at Dandridge Access Area in Jefferson County. Paul Allen Irwin, 72, of Sandy Ridge Road in Dandridge, died after ... (click for more)

The Raccoon Mountain Half Marathon, an Awesomesauce Event presented by Run Chattanooga, was recently named to The BibRave 100: A Definitive List of the Best Races in America, for the second straight ... (click for more)


Outdoors

Riverpark Boat Ramp Reopens

The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department reports the Riverpark Boat Ramp has now reopened. (click for more)

Body Of Missing Fisherman, Paul Irwin, 72, Recovered From Douglas Lake

The body of a missing fisherman was recovered on Thursday from Douglas Lake at Dandridge Access Area in Jefferson County. Paul Allen Irwin, 72, of Sandy Ridge Road in Dandridge, died after he apparently fell overboard while attempting to launch his boat. TWRA received a call at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Thursday that a boat was adrift and a fisherman was missing near the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

State Dismisses All Charges Against Charles Toney In Controversial Arrest

The state on Tuesday morning dismissed all charges against aspiring rapper Charles Toney in connection with his arrest that led to a U.S. Department of Justice probe. The arrest on Dec. 3 on Donaldson Road was caught on video by a neighbor and went viral. It showed Toney being punched and kicked by an officer while he was handcuffed. District Attorney Neal Pinkston afterward ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools Announces New School Options And Timeline

For the 2019-2020 school year, Hamilton County Schools is opening enrollment to a select group of schools, “My Future Schools,” to which students across the district will be eligible to apply. Officials said, "Opening enrollment to these schools will provide students with a diverse range of options outside of their neighborhood zoned school. These schools will be in addition to ... (click for more)

Opinion

An Open Letter Concerning The Proposed Ooltewah Waste Treatment Facility - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority and County Commissioner Tim Boyd want to build a sewage treatment plant in my backyard. I bought my house in Ooltewah in 1994, raised my children here and worked hard to pay it off. My home has been my small piece of the American Dream. Now, the WWTA and Commissioner Boyd want to reward my hard work by taking away about ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Loving Hands

For a great part of my life that I spent with my family at the former Chattanooga News-Free Press, we were in a lockjaw fight with the family who owned the Chattanooga Times. Up until the 1970s the two newspapers existed under the same roof, splitting expenses, but that got sour when the Times had a lot more “expenses” than we were duty-bound to share. So then my grandfather ... (click for more)