GOP calls for probe of park service spending

Three Senate Republicans want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the spending habits of the National Park Service.

In a letter to the GAO on Monday, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mike Enzi (Wyo.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) said the growing backlog of maintenance projects raises questions about the efficiency and priorities of the park service.

"Last year alone, the National Park Service delayed more than a quarter billion dollars in much needed maintenance projects, adding another substantial sum to the over $11.5 billion deferred maintenance backlog already threatening the health, safety, and accessibility of park visitors,” the letter states.

“In the current fiscally-constrained environment, effective allocation of resources is especially important and it is our understanding that a formal review of the National Park Service has never been conducted.”

The park service came under the spotlight in October when the government shutdown resulted in the closure of all 401 national sites, drawing fierce public criticism.

The senators want the GAO to investigate inefficiencies, identify solutions for reducing the current maintenance backlog, including a look at improving revenue streams and review the recreational fee program.