|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||May 3, 2007|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332
Will Hammerquist, NPCA, 406-862-6722
Montana Legislature Supports National Park Funding
National Parks Conservation Association Praises Senator Weinberg for Creating Unity With Resolution Supporting Parks
WHITEFISH- The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today praised Montana State Senator Dan Weinberg of Whitefish and commended the other members of the Flathead Valley legislative delegation who supported Sen. Weinberg’s recent Senate Joint Resolution, which urges the Montana congressional delegation to support full funding for our nation’s national parks.
Will Hammerquist, program manager of NPCA’s Whitefish field office said, "Not only were legislators unified in their support for national parks, often disparate businesses, conservation groups, chambers of commerce, and local governments also rallied testimony favoring this resolution. Clearly, our state is united in recognizing that Glacier and our other national parks are a major driver of our economic vitality and high quality of life."
Sen. Weinberg’s resolution, SJ 3, received support from 45 of the 50 state senators and 77 of the 100 representatives. The resolution urges Montana’s congressional delegation to eliminate the documented $7.9 billion system-wide maintenance backlog and to fully fund the annual operations budgets needed to run the parks. Governor Schweitzer has publicly supported the resolution.
According to NPCA research, inadequate funding of national parks impairs visitor experience and undermines the ability of the Park Service to protect our national parks from threats, improve infrastructure, and provide adequate staff for safety and interpretation. Current estimates place Glacier’s annual operations shortfall at 36 percent and Yellowstone’s at 35 percent.
"Montanans understand how valuable these national treasures are to our quality of life and economy. National parks, battlefields, and monuments are part of our identity as Montanans," said Weinberg when speaking in the state senate about the resolution. "It is past time for Congress to take action to restore these great national treasures that serve as valuable economic engines for the state and the Flathead Valley."
The Montana Secretary of State will now officially deliver the Joint Resolution to the Secretary of the Interior, the director of National Park Service, and Montana’s congressional delegation.
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