Federal budget cuts have created budget tightening across the country, but one area that’s been hit hard is the maintenance of the federal park system. As of last September, the amount of “deferred maintenance” nationally was $11.5 billion. But even here in New Jersey, where there are fewer national parks, the deferred maintenance cost is rising to $181 million.
Deferred maintenance is defined by the federal government as “maintenance that was not performed at the required intervals to ensure an acceptable facility condition to support the expected life cycle of an asset” and is necessary to make sure conditions meet accepted codes, laws, and standards.
In New Jersey, Gateway National Recreation Area has the largest deferred maintenance bill of $89 million. (The New York side of the park has one of $627 million.) Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has deferred maintenance costs of $73.5 million. The Edison National Historic Site needs $10.5 million in repairs and maintenance. Morristown National Historic Site needs $7 million. And even the newest federal park in the state, Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, needs $1 million in maintenance.
The budget situation federally is similar to what the state is facing, so it is likely New Jersey’s parks will soon have soaring deferred maintenance requirements if they don’t already.