Re: “Amid coronavirus response, Congress must support parks and open-space fund” [March 19, Opinion]:
While doing everything we can to support each other now, we also should be looking to the future — we will get through this. When we do, it will be even more important to invest in our national parks and public lands. The Great American Outdoor Act does exactly that and will help those who economically depend on our parks.
In 2018, more than 318 million national park visits led to $20.2 billion in direct spending at hotels, restaurants, outfitters and other amenities in gateway communities, supporting more than 329,000 jobs and generating more than $40.1 billion in total output nationally. In Washington state, 8.4 million park visitors spent an estimated $506 million in local gateway communities, supporting 5,830 jobs and $670 million in economic output.
I was in Washington, D.C., at the end of February speaking with our members of Congress on this legislation and am grateful for their support and leadership. There is strong bipartisan support, and now is the time to pass this legislation.
Laurie B. Ward, CEO, Washington’s National Park Fund, Seattle