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Backlog of repairs mounts at Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls

Greg Cotterill/WXXI News

March is Women's History Month, and local historians and National Park Service rangers led members of the media on a guided tour of the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls on Wednesday.

They were calling attention to the backlog of repairs needed at that site and all of New York's national parks.

Fred Capozzi, a member of the Seneca Falls Historical Society, said they're urging Congress to pass the Restore our Parks Act to free up some much-needed funding.

"Without this," he said, "we have a chance of losing buildings; we have a chance of losing economic development within our communities because of the fact that if it's lousy roads coming in, if parks aren't maintained, you're not going to get the tourism."

According to the National Park Service, the Women's Rights National Historical Park has a backlog of $5.3 million in maintenance and repairs as of fiscal year 2018. That backlog is mostly at the visitors center but also is at some of the historic homes at the park, including the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, the Hunt House, and the M'Clintock House in Waterloo.  That's an increase from the $4.6 million maintenance estimate listed in fiscal year 2017.

Capozzi said tourism is essential to Seneca Falls, the birthplace of women's rights.

"It's instrumental that we continue to bring that message to future generations," he said, "because once it's lost, you're never going to be able to resurrect this again for future generations."

The current maintenance backlog for all of the national park sites in the U.S. is $11.9 billion.

New York's national parks are in need of $871 million worth of work.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.