The Badlands National Park is one of South Dakota's biggest tourist attractions to people all over the world. Many of us going to or from the Black Hills take the side trip for a drive through the park as an extended part of a vacation. In fact each year more than 4 million people get to say they saw the Badlands.

Now time is running short for the United States Congress to pass legislation that would fund a $12 billion maintenance backlog in the National Park Service. Badlands National Park is on that list.

According to a report from the Greater Dakota News Service revenues from tourism are expected to be up in South Dakota this year over 2017 but concern that overdue maintenance at national parks might eventually reverse that has advocates calling on Congress to pass a funding bill.

The Restore Our Parks Act has gotten through committees with bipartisan support, but with time running short in this session, it still needs approval on the House and Senate floor.

Jim Hagen, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, wants Congress to make park maintenance funding a priority before adjournment next month.

The bill provides up to $6.5 billion over five years from oil and gas royalties that aren't already obligated.

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