Congressman Dan Newhouse recently joined Cathy McMorris Rodgers and others to become the 290th co-sponsor of the Restore Our Parks Act — and I applaud him for it.

Maintenance of our parks has been ignored for too long. In fact, there’s a $12 billion backlog in funding for this maintenance.

According to The National Parks Traveler, “The Restore Our Parks Act would establish the ‘National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund’ to reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating existing revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development.”

There are 290 co-sponsors on the bill, 118 of which are Republicans, proving that protecting our national parks shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

National Parks are vital for the economy of our state, generating $20.2 billion and 329 thousand jobs each year nationwide. Of that, $506 million and 5,830 jobs come here to Washington.

As a conservative student activist and lifelong Washingtonian who cares about the environment, I believe this demonstrates that the time for Republicans to take the lead on environmental issues has come.

I urge other members of Congress, and especially Republicans, to take a page out of Congressman Newhouse’s book, and stand up for our national parks.

Jack Pickett, Yakima

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