NATIONAL PARKS GROUP OPENS FIRST VIRGINIA OFFICE

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   January 27, 2006
Contact:   Catharine Gilliam, Virginia Program Manager
National Parks Conservation Association
Phone: (540) 460-5105
cgilliam@npca.org


NATIONAL PARKS GROUP OPENS FIRST VIRGINIA OFFICE

- Staunton - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has opened its first Virginia program office.

Catharine Gilliam will serve as NPCA’s Virginia Program Manager, and will work to build productive partnerships among Virginians and the 32 sites of the National Park system in Virginia. She has extensive experience in working with community organizations on planning for economic development consistent with historic preservation and natural resource protection, and on public policy issues that affect quality of life.

“As a native of Virginia, I am delighted to serve as NPCA’s Virginia Program Manager,” said Gilliam. “The opening of the Virginia regional office signals NPCA’s commitment to protecting the natural resources and cultural history of our national parks here in Virginia.”

The Virginia program office will engage in public policy issues in the Virginia General Assembly and in the U.S. Congress. The new office also will lead NPCA’s campaign on its top state legislative priority, passage of the Clean Smokestacks bill, HB1055, sponsored by state Del. John S. Reid, a Richmond Republican whose wife suffers from a respiratory illness that is exacerbated by air pollution. The Clean Smokestacks bill will clean up pollution from the state’s outdated coal-fired power plants. This pollution is the major reason that Shenandoah National Park, one of the Commonwealth’s greatest natural treasures and a top tourist destination, ranks as one of the most polluted parks in the country. The pollution that harms the park originates almost entirely outside its boundaries, and first travels across the schoolyards, backyards, and farmyards of a wide region.

NPCA’s top priorities in the U.S. Congress include significantly increasing funding for the national parks in Virginia and across the country, which are short more than $600 million annually. Both U.S. Senators John Warner and George Allen have supported significant increases in annual funding for the park system. Rep. Frank Wolf is a cosponsor of the National Parks Centennial Act, which would provide new funding to address critical park needs such as the preservation of historic buildings and museum artifacts and the removal of invasive species. To gain legislative support, NPCA’s Virginia office will with work with members of Congress for the passage of the National Parks Centennial Act.

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come. NPCA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with more than 300,000 members, including more than 10,000 members in Virginia.

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Editors can obtain photos of Shenandoah or of Catharine Gilliam by contacting Catharine at telephone: 540-460-5105; mail: P.O. Box 1003, Staunton, VA 24402; or email: cgilliam@npca.org. For more information about NPCA, visit: www.npca.org/.

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