WPR News
8:11 am
Tue August 26, 2008

Park Service faces $2 billion restoration backlog

Laramie, Wyo. – A preservation group says historic buildings in America's national parks have been left to crumble, while administrators focused too long on other priorities.

Even the Park Service recognizes the problem.

An official in Washington says the situation is dire for historic buildings in Wyoming and across the country.

Randy Biallas says the Park Service has enough trouble raising renovation money for high-profile buildings like Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

So a few old cabins and lesser known buildings in Western Parks face even steeper odds.

Barbara Paul of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says many historic buildings in Grand Teton are falling apart.

"We can't wait for Washington to fix its budget problems," Paul says.

She says the trust has committed to raising nearly a million dollars for a project in Grand Teton at the old White Grass Dude Ranch. It will train artisans to restore rustic log buildings.

Paul and park officials hope those workers can eventually cut into the growing backlog of deteriorating buildings in the nation's parks when the center opens in 2016.