In response to the March 16 front-page article “State keeps attracting visitors in steadily growing numbers”:

Acadia National Park brought nearly 3.5 million people to Maine last year – a significant portion of our state’s overall tourism visitation. Our national parks are economic generators, with visitors to Acadia spending nearly $250 million annually and supporting 4,000 jobs.

Unfortunately, Acadia and the rest of our national parks face a major challenge that the new administration must address: more than $12 billion in needed infrastructure repairs.

Parks face this daunting challenge because, for too long, Congress has not made funding our parks a priority. President Trump has proposed a 12 percent cut to the Department of the Interior budget, which would further affect National Park Service appropriations.

National parks are among America’s favorite places and are more popular than ever. Last year, just as Maine’s tourism industry saw an increase for the fourth straight year, the park service celebrated its centennial and welcomed a record 331 million visitors to parks across the country.

If we want Acadia and all of our national parks to continue accommodating visitors in record numbers, pumping millions into our local economies, we need to tackle the park’s repair backlog. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to fix.

The administration and Congress need to work to ensure national parks have the resources and support they need so our park rangers can continue to protect our most treasured places.

Jeff Saffer

Cape Elizabeth