|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 31, 2013|
|Contact:||Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association: 415-728-0840; Cell: 415-847-1768|
National Parks Group Remarks on Senate Natural Resources Committee Hearing
National Parks Subcommittee Considers Bills to Enhance National Park System
Washington, DC – The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today commended Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski for convening a hearing surrounding 22 national parks and public lands-focused bills. The bills supported by NPCA include opportunities to create new, expand, or study the feasibility of establishing new national park sites; provide Wild and Scenic River designations; and reauthorize National Heritage Areas, after federal funding was terminated last fall.
“Today’s hearing represents another step towards making our country’s best idea, our National Park System, even better,” said NPCA Senior Vice President of Policy Ron Tipton.
Bipartisan-sponsored legislative proposals for enhancing the National Park System were discussed at the hearing: the Gettysburg National Military Park Expansion Act, Yosemite National Park Boundary Expansion Act, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Boundary Expansion Act, and the Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site Improvement Act. The Pacific Islands Parks Act would also authorize the Interior Department to review the cultural resources of the islands of Rota, Hawai’i, Maui, the Midway Atoll, and Kaua’i to determine the suitability of designating new national park sites. The Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act, which NPCA has long supported for the many benefits it would bring to southern Nevada, was also discussed.
“The proposed Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument has the potential to be a model urban national park for Southern Nevada and an enhancement to the state’s educational systems,” said NPCA Senior Nevada Program Manager Lynn Davis. “Imagine experiencing and providing educational opportunities surrounding Ice Age fossils, just miles away from the Las Vegas Strip – this is the opportunity provided, thanks to leadership from Senators Reid and Heller, and Representatives Amodei, Heck, Horsford, and Titus.”
“As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address this year, now is the time to protect the places that are critical to telling the story of the battle and its aftermath," said NPCA Delaware and Pennsylvania Senior Program Manager Cinda Waldbuesser. “Bipartisan legislation would add the Gettysburg Train Station, where President Lincoln arrived to deliver the Gettysburg Address, and 45 acres of key battlefield to the Gettysburg National Military Park.”
The Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act calls for the highest level of river protection for safeguarding significant natural, cultural and recreational opportunities on Connecticut’s rivers. On land, NPCA supports the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act, for the opportunities it provides to study and safeguard historic landscapes significant to the War of 1812, Civil War, and American Revolutionary War. NPCA also supports five pieces of legislation that would reauthorize National Heritage Areas - which are supported, but not managed by the National Park Service – after federal funding was cut in September of 2012, before Congress had the opportunity to properly review assessments. The landscapes include the Ohio and Erie Canal, Essex, Rivers of Steel, the Lackawanna Valley, Delaware and Lehigh, Schuylkill River Valley, American’s Agricultural Heritage Partnership, and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Areas.
Click here for additional details on the bills discussed at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing and NPCA’s position on the pieces of legislation.