“For the Benefit & Enjoyment of the People”
That is what folks read as they enter Yellowstone National Park through the Roosevelt Arch south of Gardiner, Montana.
For over a century, Yellowstone and Glacier have captured our country’s collective imagination and demonstrated the value of conservation to the millions of folks who enter the parks each year.
Today our country celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service which provides Montana families with access to our incredible national treasures.
This ground belongs to each and every one of us, and for generations Yellowstone and Glacier have provided Montanans with world class outdoor recreation, abundant wildlife, and significant economic development opportunities.
In fact, the folks who visited Yellowstone and Glacier last year alone spent nearly $800 million in gateway communities in Montana and across the broader region.
But to ensure these parks continue to thrive for another 100 years, we must take steps today to upgrade the park’s infrastructure and protect these unique landscapes for generations to come.
Currently, there is over $600 million in deferred infrastructure maintenance across Yellowstone National Park.
Then when you scoot up north, the tab for the deferred maintenance in Glacier is nearly $180 million.
These bills are stacking up and Congress must make significant investments to update our parks’ roads, bridges, and facilities.
For too long folks in Washington have ignored their responsibility to maintain this infrastructure, which is constantly under stress from harsh weather and a record number of visitors.
That is why earlier this year I worked with both Democrats and Republicans to authorize additional resources to improve infrastructure in Yellowstone and Glacier, as well as national parks across the country.
Upgrading this infrastructure isn’t just a safety issue, it’s an economic one as well. By making these investments today, we can help our parks attract and safely accommodate even more visitors tomorrow.
Additionally, I have worked to invest over $7 million to improve infrastructure at the airports in Bozeman and Kalispell.
Thousands of folks each year used these airports to access Yellowstone and Glacier, and these additional resources will help expand the airports’ capacity, allowing even more folks to visit Montana every year.
Yellowstone and Glacier are our state’s treasures, and just like the folks who came before us, it is our responsibility to protect, promote, and enhance the parks so folks can continue to explore these special places for another 100 years.