Letter: Stillwater supports our national park system

To the editor:

Some of my fondest memories from my youth are of time spent on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Whether hiking, fishing, paddling or just spending time with friends and family around a campfire, the St. Croix has offered so many unforgettable moments.

That is why I was thrilled to learn that the Stillwater City Council recently passed a resolution in support of Minnesota national park sites, including the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The resolution asks Congress to provide $11.3 billion in necessary funding nationwide. This funding would go toward park maintenance and upkeep of facilities, including trails, bridges and boat landings. In Minnesota alone, roughly one million visitors enjoyed our national park sites in 2016, which contributes to $56 million in spending in local communities including Stillwater.

Nationwide, national parks are seeing an increase in visitors and popularity! Luckily, from our own Rep. Betty McCollum to Sen. Franken and Klobuchar, Minnesota has strong congressional champions in support of our national parks. And the issue is bipartisan — this summer Rep. Erik Paulsen, who represents the western Twin Cities co-sponsored the National Park Service Legacy Act, a bill to create a dedicated funding source to address national park maintenance needs.

Like many Minnesotans, I am confident that investing in our national parks is a critical component to strengthening our nation. This step Stillwater City Council has taken to pass this resolution positively contributes to the preservation of our beautiful state into the future by supporting the provision of safe and accessible outdoor recreation to more people and exponentially improving the local economy by bringing in local spending and high-paying jobs.

Caleb Anderson