North Dakota’s parks saw about 1.3 million visitors this past year, and that record visitation is continuing into 2021.
To keep those parks in good condition — the legislature approved nearly $8 million to fund deferred maintenance projects.
The backlog of maintenance over the past several years would cost about $74 million, so the $7.9 million won’t cover all of it. But Parks and Recreation Director Andrea Travnicek says it’s a lot more funding than the $1 to $2.5 million given in previous sessions.
The increased funding this year for parks is part of a national trend.
Federal CARES Act money boosted parks nationwide to address a nearly $6 billion backlog of deferred maintenance.
Travnicek says the money will go toward marinas, roadways and buildings throughout the parks.
“Some of the projects at Fort Lincoln, you might see some of them actually wrapping up from the previous biennium. If you get out and look at the Triple Shelter out there that was a project that was on the docket for the last few biennia, so that’s going to be completed this year. We also did some work at the On-A-Slant Village, so there’s some updates there, as well,” Travnicek said. “One of the big projects though that we’re going to try to start this fall is out at Fort Stevenson, our Marina. We have a breakwater project that needs to be completed right away and that’s $1.5 million. So just continuing to assess those marinas, shorelines, buildings.”
The state’s Parks and Recreation department also launched its Parks Passport program this week. Anyone can purchase a booklet, which includes information on all of the state’s parks and a place to stamp when you’ve been to each one.