Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 15

 3-MINUTE READING TIME

ATIONAL PARKS ARE AMERICAN TREASURES. FROM A MIRrored lake in Montana's Glacier National Park to the walls of
the Grand Canyon in Arizona that tell the geological history of
the site. From the patriotic monuments that dot our nation's
capital to the colorful hillsides that appear every fall along
America's parkways, the national parks are a major draw for
tourists from across the country and around the world.
Last year's centennial celebration of the National Park
Service (NPS) pulled in a record 331 million visits to the system's more than 400 sites. Not only are the parks environmental treasures, they're also economic engines for neighboring
communities. In 2016, NPS visitors spent $18.4 billion in nearby
communities, and the hotel industry was a top beneficiary.
More than 30 percent of the spending - $5.7 billion - went to
lodging. The second highest expenditure - 20 percent - went
to the restaurant industry, which took in $3.7 billion.
In the 1950s, when people took to the new interstate
highways, national parks were often a favorite destination.
Unfortunately, many visitors found inadequate bathrooms
and crumbling infrastructure. This created widespread public concern at the time, which led Congress to invest in our
country's iconic places.
Lawmakers implemented a plan, called Mission 66, which
allocated close to $1 billion - the equivalent of about $7 billion to $8 billion today - for visitor centers, adequate roads,
improved bathroom accommodations, and other amenities to
provide a safe, enjoyable experience for park visitors.
But that was 50 years ago, and the time has come for another
round of repairs to these popular national treasures, which
have been inadequately funded by Congress for decades. At
the same time, the parks have grown in popularity, meaning
more wear and tear on aging and deteriorating infrastructure. And as hoteliers know, infrastructure maintenance is
a key part of business success. That is why it's so troubling
that federal investment in park maintenance has fallen well
short of the billions of dollars needed today to repair the
crumbling roads, deteriorating historic buildings, eroding
trails, outdated public buildings and safety hazards in our
national parks. These issues can impede access, compromise
safety and hinder the preservation of the very history that
may have resulted in the site becoming part of the National
Park Service.

TROUBLED WATERS AT THE GRAND CANYON
Grand Canyon National Park is a perfect example of eroding
infrastructure. More than 6 million visits a year are made to
the Arizona site for a close-up look at the mile-deep canyon
carved by the Colorado River. And the park's biggest problem,
ironically, is water.

Gravity feeds 1.2 million gallons a day over 16 miles of aluminum pipe from the North Rim to the more popular South
Rim. But this Trans-Canyon Pipeline, which is integral to the
park's infrastructure and operations, has a history of breaking 20 times or more a year. When a break occurs, park staff
scramble - sometimes by helicopter - to locate and patch the
pipeline at great cost in resources and staff time. Sometimes
when the pipeline is damaged, concessioners, residents and
guests have to ration water, which can discourage visitation
and jeopardize tourism dollars.
The solution would be replacing the pipeline. NPS officials
onsite estimate the project could cost more than $150 million.
But the cost of continuing to neglect this vital asset of the park
could be even higher. In 2016, visitors spent an estimated $648
million in areas adjacent to the park, with the NPS estimating
that $168 million of that spending, or 26 percent, was on lodging at nearby hotels. The total visitor spending in these areas
supported 9,800 jobs and $904 million in economic output.
The NPS wants to avert these situations, but the agency
often lacks the federal funding to make infrastructure repairs
at the Grand Canyon and other sites. Yet as repairs are put
off, the cost of interim fixes adds up and permanent solutions
become more expensive.
It's not too late for Congress to address the deferred maintenance challenges within our parks. Sen. Mark Warner,
D-Va., along with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced the
National Park Service Legacy Act to establish a dedicated
annual fund to address park deferred maintenance, eventually allocating up to $500 million per year through 2047. Rep.
Will Hurd, R-Texas, along with Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.,
Dave Reichert, R-Wash., and Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii,
recently introduced companion legislation in the House
of Representatives.
Preserving these beloved places for future generations
would also support businesses across the country that depend
on revenue from park visitors. As we continue to celebrate
the historical, cultural and recreational values of America's
national parks, we must also invest in the park infrastructure
those guests depend upon during their visits.
AAHOA is among the businesses and organizations around
the country that recognize the importance of the national
parks to the hotel industry. You can help ensure that NPS has
the dedicated resources necessary to protect and maintain
our national parks by urging your representative and senators
to co-sponsor the National Park Service Legacy Act. Together,
we can help #FixOurParks.
■
Marcia Argust directs The Pew Charitable Trusts' restore America's
parks campaign.

TODAYSHOTELIER.COM | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 15


http://www.TODAYSHOTELIER.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - September 2017

Our National Parks: Still Beautiful but in Need of Repairs
Sustainability Steadily Becoming Part of Lodging Industry Dna
Energy Efficiency Good for Wallet – and Guests
Aahoa Interview
Technology
There’s More to Led Conversions Than Just Cost Savings
Case Study
Aahoa Interview
Small Business
Housekeeping
Property Taxes
Leadership
Marketing
Finance q&a
Back of the House
Final Thoughts
Letter From the Chairman
Letter From the President & CEO
Aahoa Founding Members
Aahoa @ Industry
Classifieds
Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - intro
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - cover1
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - cover2
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 3
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 4
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 5
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 6
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 7
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 8
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 9
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Letter From the Chairman
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 11
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Letter From the President & CEO
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 13
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Our National Parks: Still Beautiful but in Need of Repairs
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 15
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Sustainability Steadily Becoming Part of Lodging Industry Dna
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 17
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 18
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 19
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 20
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 21
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Energy Efficiency Good for Wallet – and Guests
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 23
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 24
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 25
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Aahoa Interview
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 27
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 28
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 29
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Technology
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 31
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - There’s More to Led Conversions Than Just Cost Savings
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 33
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 34
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 35
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Case Study
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 37
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Aahoa Interview
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 39
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Small Business
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 41
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Housekeeping
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 43
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Property Taxes
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 45
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Leadership
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 47
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 48
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 49
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Marketing
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 51
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 52
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 53
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Finance q&a
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 55
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Back of the House
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 57
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 58
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 59
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Aahoa Founding Members
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 61
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Aahoa @ Industry
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 63
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 64
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Classifieds
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 66
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 67
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 68
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 69
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 70
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 71
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 72
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 73
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 74
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - Final Thoughts
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 77
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - 78
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - cover3
Today's Hotelier - September 2017 - cover4
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