Parks Group Honors Arizona Senator McCain

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 22, 2001
Contact:   Andrea Keller, NPCA, 202-454-3332


Parks Group Honors Arizona Senator McCain

Washington, DC - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's leading parks advocacy conservation group, yesterday honored Arizona senator John McCain with its prestigious William Penn Mott, Jr., Park Leadership Award for his role in safeguarding natural sounds in America's national parks. More than 600 guests, including members of Congress, government officials, NPCA board members, corporate sponsors, and concerned activists, attended the parks group's annual dinner in support of the senator. Arizona representative Jim Kolbe and Michael Bloomberg gave speeches in his honor.

NPCA's William Penn Mott, Jr., Park Leadership Award was given to Senator John McCain for his in passing the important Air Tour Management Bill. The senator sponsored the bill in two successive Congresses before seeing the National Parks Air Tour Management Act signed into law in April 2000. Under this landmark legislation, the National Park Service will for the first time in its history be able to participate in the management and regulation of air tour overflights within a half-mile of park boundaries. In 1987, Senator McCain authored legislation to limit air tour overflights in Grand Canyon National Park. That act has since become the cornerstone of Park Service and NPCA efforts to encourage the air tour industry to address the impact of aircraft on our national parks.

Named for a former director of the National Park Service and NPCA trustee, the Mott Award is presented annually to a public official who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the protection of America's natural and cultural heritage and made a singular achievement on behalf of national parks protection. Previous winners include former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of the interior, Bruce Babbitt.

"Senator McCain has led this country in removing man-made clamor from the skies over our national parks," said NPCA President Thomas Kiernan. "Protection of national park resources means not just being able to see the parks, but hear them as well."

NPCA also awarded the Robin W. Winks Award to Sylvia Earle, a marine biologist, oceanographer, undersea explorer, author, and one of the world's leading advocates for safeguarding the seas--the Earth's largest and most vital natural resource. Currently Explorer-in-Residence of the National Geographic Society, Earle has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide, including more than 6,000 hours underwater in connection with her research.

The Winks Award is given annually to an individual who has effectively and consistently communicated the values of the National Park System and the national park ideal to the American public. It is named for Robin Winks, head of the History Department at Yale University and one of the few people to have visited all units of the National Park System.

"Through their actions, these two people inspire all of us to care about America's wild lands and to protect the beauty and wildness of our country for future generations," said NPCA President Thomas Kiernan.

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