LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lake Mead National Recreation Area has nearly $237 million in maintenance projects that have been put off for a year or longer. The bulk of the projects involve park roads.
Great Basin National Park needs almost $15 million to tackle the projects they have on hold.
A September 2018 report from the National Park Service indicates almost $12 billion in maintenance projects are competing for funding nationwide and in places like American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Guam. Each year, the park service decides what it can afford and what will have to wait. Public safety is an important driver in setting priorities, and each park determines its own priorities.
California’s deferred maintenance alone is nearly $1.9 billion for 27 locations that include Yosemite National Park, Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.
Arizona lists $507 million in deferred maintenance, with $313 million at the Grand Canyon and the rest split between 22 other parks.
The list doesn’t break down the projects that are on hold, but road repairs account for a huge share of the needed funding. Upkeep of buildings — some historic — infrastructure for clean water and waste water, trails and housing also figure into costly maintenance.
At Lake Mead, Christie Vanover says roads and campgrounds have high priorities. Vanover is a public affairs officer for Lake Mead and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, which is still in planning and does not figure into deferred maintenance.
Vanover said about $200 million of Lake Mead’s deferred projects are for roads. About $10 million is for campgrounds.
Lake Mead is improving 75 miles of roads in the park in a $5 million project this year. Other priority projects include the Boulder Beach campground and the access road to Willow Beach.
Boulder Beach campground is a $1.5 million project that kicked off on Monday. About 50 campsites will be improved, and the entire campground will be repaved. RV and tent sites will be made larger and will get concrete pads. During the project, sites in loops A, B, C and D will remain open. Those sites were recently renovated.
A news release said the project will not affect Lake Mead RV Village, and additional campsites are available at Las Vegas Bay and Calville Bay.
The $15 million Willow Beach project will fix the road that runs from U.S. Highway 93 in Arizona down to the facilities on the edge of the Colorado River. The road occupies a wash, and is frequently in need of repair when flash flooding occurs.
A report on Utah’s National Public Radio kuer.org website indicated Zion National Park needs $67.5 million to complete projects on its deferred maintenance list. Utah has a total of about $220 million in projects on the list.