National parks need attention

America’s national parks are the envy of the world. Blessed with incredible beauty, ecological diversity and historical significance, our ancestors were wise to protect them for posterity.

The National Park Service manages 417 parks, heritage areas, monuments and other important sites. In Ohio, this includes a national monument in Xenia; a national park in Cleveland and Akron; national historical parks in Dayton and Chillicothe; memorials in Beachwood and Put-in-Bay; national historic sites in Toledo, Canton, Mentor and Cincinnati; a heritage area in Dayton; and part of the seven-state North Country Trail, which meanders through Ohio, primarilly along the Buckeye Trail.

But as visitors to many NPS areas have noticed, to their dismay, during recent years, maintenance at many of the sites has taken a back seat to other federal budget priorities. That has made many parks less appealing and some more hazardous for visitors.

Now, a coalition of five U.S. senators wants to do something about the maintenance backlog at NPS sites. They plan to introduce legislation to implement a proposal by President Donald Trump’s administration to provide more funding for the park system.

Members of Congress must deal with a variety of competing demands for taxpayers’ dollars. Blame that for years of neglect of the park system.

But components of the system have been referred to as America’s crown jewels. As such, it is not enough for us merely to say we revere them. They require our care, too.

To that end, the measure planned by the five senators should be enacted.