From dirt to crumbling masonry, American parks can be transformed | WGN Radio 720

Near the Tidal Basin in Washington, the crew cleaned the white marble exterior walls of the Jefferson Memorial and repaired cracked stones to prevent debris from falling. The Statue of Liberty is in the process of waterproofing the outer walls of the huge stone fort built in 1807, which is the foundation of the monument.

Also, in New River Gorge, one of West Virginia’s newest national parks, a historic masonry grill has been restored near the Grand View Visitor Center.

Under legislation passed by Parliament in 2020, some of America’s most spectacular natural and historical symbols are being transformed, from the monuments on the east coast to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite in the west.

The Great American Outdoor Act spends up to $ 1.6 billion annually over the next five years on major maintenance and repairs that have been postponed many times. According to the Ministry of Interior, the funds will go to important projects in national parks, forests, wildlife sanctuaries and recreation areas. It also includes funding tribal schools.

Some of the first funded projects are small projects that preserve historic buildings such as the New River Gorge’s grill and the marble walls of the Jefferson Memorial. But dozens of other projects are coming, some are more urgent than others.

In Puerto Rico, there are plans to stabilize cliffs eroded by wind, rain and waves at the San Juan National Historic Site to prevent rocks from falling on the popular recreation trails below.

Another project will repair the broken left abutment of a 146-year-old masonry dam on the Potomac River in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park to “prevent the loss of life” due to the sudden release of water.

The Grand Canyon is lined with huge Swiss Chalet-style buildings with oversized balconies, windows and eaves for upgrades. This encodes the currently vacant structure and stabilizes it while the park determines the best use.

Some projects planned for next year will fix infrastructure issues that park visitors may not immediately notice. Road renovations, leaky lodge roof repairs, replacement of old utilities that pose a safety risk, and more.

One such project replaces the dilapidated high-voltage power lines and towers of Yosemite National Park. The line, built in the mid-1930s, powers the entire Yosemite Valley.

Improvements have been seen in several campgrounds, including those in the Rocky Mountains. It has a new utility line that provides consistent clean water and power, as well as more electrical connections and parking.

“The Great American Waffle Law, with the amount of money available, provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to handle large-scale projects for national park services, some of the large-scale needs.” At the same time, it addresses some key issues. For smaller projects, Mike Coldwell, Deputy Director of Park Planning, Facilities and Land, National Parks Authority, said.

The New River Gorge, which completed one of its first maintenance projects in October, attracted about 70,000 visitors annually before being designated as a national park last year. Spokeswoman Eve West said the new status has increased attendance, especially at Grand View, a popular place for hiking, picnics and dramatic landscapes.

“It’s one of the most beautiful areas of the park. The distance from the top to the river is 1,400 feet, so you can get a great view of the park from the main oversights,” says West.

The masonry hearth, built in the 1930s in the Grand View picnic area, had deteriorated elements and the grill was barely used until September when the crew arrived for repairs.

Moira Gasior, the historic conservator of New River Gorge, said the crew had replaced bricks and mortar and installed a new grate. Gasior worked to help raise $ 280,000 for the project, including the repair of a large fireplace in a picnic shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps before World War II.

At the Jefferson Memorial, a $ 3.8 million project to clean and restore structures under the dome ends in late October after months of work to clean the dirt that spread on the white marble. Did. Ritterst, spokesman for the National Mall.

“The Jefferson Memorial has certainly deteriorated in appearance over the past few years due to biofilms. Cleaning has restored it to the bright whites people expect. To be honest, it deserves Thomas Jefferson. “Masu,” said Ritterst.

Over the next few years, several other high-priority projects will be funded, including a new water pipe in the Grand Canyon that will serve more than 6 million visitors and residents throughout the year. ..

Joel Baird, a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon, said the park will fund a pipeline that has broken more than 85 times in the last decade in fiscal year 2023, requiring a helicopter influx of supplies and workers. Said that it would lead to costly repairs.

According to Baird, line replacement costs have exceeded life expectancy for decades and can easily exceed $ 100 million.

“It will be a very large business, but in the end it will bring great benefits to the infrastructure and the water supply to the entire park,” she said.


Felícia Fonseca, Associated Press writer from Flagstaff, Arizona, contributed to this report.

From dirt to crumbling masonry, American parks can be transformed | WGN Radio 720

Source link From dirt to crumbling masonry, American parks can be transformed | WGN Radio 720

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