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Bills would provide funding for more than 400 national parks

old buildings on water
National Park Service
Keweenaw National Historical Park is one of the parks that would benefit from a pair of bills in Congress to provide funding to tackle a maintenance backlog.

Support is growing for efforts to repair and restore national parks in Michigan and other states.

A pair of bipartisan bills in Congress would provide funding to address the nearly $12 billion deferred-maintenance backlog at more than 400 parks across the nation.

Michigan's five national parks attract 2.5 million people every year.

Dianne St. Amour is president of the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She says investments are needed to ensure the parks are viable for generations to come.

"It's preserving our history," she says. "It's preserving nature. You won't have the chance to explore the wildlife, and explore the nature. And it works for your mental health and your physical health, too. So this is something that I definitely think we need to preserve."

Amour says that the parks also are a key part of the state's economy, supporting 3,700 jobs and generating $235 million in spending each year.

Vincent Duffy has been news director at Michigan Public since May 2007.
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