|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||August 12, 2008|
|Contact:||Mike Bento, P: 202.291.3117|
National Parks Second Century Commission Announced
Blue Ribbon Commission to Chart the Future of America's National Parks
Washington, DC – Former Senators Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R–TN) and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr. (D–LA) today announced the formation of the National Parks Second Century Commission, a first-in-a-generation effort to examine the national parks today and chart a vision for their future.
"More than one hundred years ago America invented the national park idea with the designation of Yellowstone as the first national park," said Commission Co-Chair Senator Baker, former Senate Majority Leader. "Guided by that founding idea, this Commission will examine the role of the national parks today and articulate a bold vision of a future where national parks continue to enrich and ennoble this nation and its citizens."
The Commission is made up of close to 30 national leaders, experts and thinkers drawn from a broad range of backgrounds, including scientists, historians, conservationists, academics, business leaders, policy experts, and retired National Park Service executives.
"Never before has a group of this caliber, independent and non-partisan, convened to conduct a comprehensive examination of the state of the national parks today, and their potential for the future," said Commission Co-Chair Senator Johnston, former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. "I’m honored to serve with my colleague Senator Baker, and this extraordinary group of Commissioners."
The first meeting of the National Parks Second Century Commission will take place near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Calif., August 25–27, 2008. The Commission will meet in four additional national parks across the country by June of next year, including: Yellowstone National Park in Wyo.; Gettysburg National Military Park in Pa.; Lowell National Historical Park in Mass.; and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tenn. The Commission will hear from a range of subject matter experts, park managers, and the general public over the course of their twelve-month effort, culminating in a report with recommendations in the fall of 2009.
In announcing the Commission, the Co-Chairs applauded Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne for his leadership on the Centennial Challenge Fund legislation, which will establish a ten year program to repair and enhance the national parks through a mix of public and private funding.
The Commission is being convened by the non-profit, non-partisan, National Parks Conservation Association, the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System.
For a full list of the Commission members click here.