National Parks Conservation Association Praises Leadership of Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, Rep. Capps for National Park Budget Increase, Channel Islands Protections in Omnibus

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   December 18, 2007
Contact:   Lindsay Bartsh, National Parks Conservation Association, P: 415-989-9921, ext. 22


National Parks Conservation Association Praises Leadership of Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, Rep. Capps for National Park Budget Increase, Channel Islands Protections in Omnibus

Press Statement by Ron Sundergill, Regional Director, Pacific Regional Office

“The leadership of Interior Appropriations Chair Dianne Feinstein was essential to securing much-needed funding for national parks in the omnibus bill. And thanks to Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Lois Capps, language in the omnibus ensures that Channel Islands National Park and its native plants and wildlife will be preserved for all Americans.

“The omnibus bill contains a much-needed $122-million operating increase, which will enable the National Park Service to fill some seasonal ranger positions and cover fixed costs, which had been straining park budgets. The omnibus also provides nearly $25 million to begin funding the National Park Centennial Challenge and $44 million to acquire nationally significant lands, including $2 million for acquisition needs at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

“This is an exciting and important step toward restoring the national parks by their centennial, and is a result of Congress and the Administration recognizing that taking care of our national parks should be a national priority. We understand that Congress and the Administration wanted to do even more to help restore the national parks, but were precluded by the complicated and difficult budget climate. For this year’s effort to be meaningful over the long term, it will be critical that Congress and the Administration build on it in next year’s budget, to continue the task of restoring the national parks for their centennial in 2016.

“Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, and Rep. Capps also championed a provision in the omnibus bill that repeals a harmful law allowing exclusive deer and elk hunts to continue on the island at the expense of public access and the restoration of the native ecosystem on Santa Rosa Island in Channel Islands National Park.

“Thanks to this measure, non-native deer and elk will be removed from the island by 2011, giving six rare plant species found only on Santa Rose Island a fighting chance at survival. The repeal will guarantee full public access starting in 2011. Currently 90 percent of the island is closed to the public for at least four months of the year because of a commercial hunting operation. Now, all Americans will have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Santa Rose Island.”

 

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