By REBECCA REYNOLDS, The Associated Press

Work has begun on giving some of America's most spectacular natural settings and historic icons a makeover.

The Great American Outdoor Act was passed by Congress last year and dedicated up to $1.6 billion a year for the next five years to extensive maintenance and repairs that have been put off year after year.

The Department of the Interior says the funding will go toward critical projects in national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other areas.

Some of the first projects completed in October included cleaning the marble walls of the Jefferson Memorial and restoring historic masonry grills at New River Gorge, but dozens of other renovations are coming.

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