Park Advocates and Businesses Praise Congressional Support for National Parks Centennial Initiative

Date:   June 11, 2013
Contact:   Craig Obey, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association, Phone: (202) 454-3392; Email:

Park Advocates and Businesses Praise Congressional Support for National Parks Centennial Initiative

223 Members of Congress Push to Work With Administration to Reinvigorate the Parks

Washington, D.C.—Today, 223 members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama expressing interest in collaborating on a centennial initiative for national parks.  The letter, signed by 51 Senators and 172 House Members, shows broad bipartisan support for revitalizing our national parks leading up to the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. 

Park advocates and supporters across the country praise the bipartisan group of members of Congress for recognizing that now is the time for decision-makers to take action to make the most of this historic occasion to maintain and enhance America’s national park legacy for future generations.

“We’re deeply grateful to Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Udall (D-CO) and Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI) for spearheading the letter and to the many, bipartisan members of Congress who signed on to support our national parks,” said Craig Obey, senior vice president for government affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association. “As this letter demonstrates, national parks are unifiers, regardless of politics or place. They are red, white and blue, not red, purple or blue.  With support on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, now is the time for the White House and Congress to act together and provide for the future of our national parks, for our children and grandchildren.”  

“I am pleased to see members of both political parties willing to work together on this historic occasion. My guide operation depends on the great outdoors and my clients benefit directly from the health and recreational opportunities provided by well-funded and well-maintained national parks,” said Kel Rossiter, Owner, Adventure Spirit Rock + Ice + Alpine Experience, Burlington, Vermont.

“I recognize the importance of a robust centennial initiative that can respond to the deep popularity that parks have with the public.  We applaud members of Congress for their efforts so far and are eager to see more bipartisan cooperation leading up to the 2016 centennial,” said Gail Clark, Vice Chairman, Garden Club of America National Affairs and Legislation Committee, Markham, Virginia.

“The centennial of the National Park Service is an opportunity for the nation’s leaders to demonstrate that Washington can take important action in a bipartisan way.  The public wants this, both because they care about national parks regardless of region or ethnicity, economics or ideology, and because they want to see proof that Washington hasn’t forgotten how to take actions that unify us and move us forward, together,” said Derrick Crandall, Counselor, National Parks Hospitality Association.

“We hope the President will hear Congress’ call and work with both parties to ensure a meaningful centennial initiative that can provide the national parks with real support. In Mississippi, we are well aware of the importance of preserving the National Park System for future generations,” said Bess Averett, Executive Director, Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“Not only do our national parks care for historic sites that represent the making of America, they also preserve places of astounding beauty and important habitats.  As a member of the Bar Harbor community and as a community leader, I believe that a strong centennial celebration will herald the importance of NPS, and it will boost the local economy during the centennial year and subsequent years,” said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, President & CEO of the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine.

Background:  Historically, national leaders have marked major anniversaries of the National Park System with strong national park initiatives.  The challenges facing our parks, with funding shortages and resource protection needs, are well documented.  With polls showing unique support for national parks among the American people, with 95 percent agreeing on the important federal role in protecting and funding our national parks, there is a unique opportunity for our leaders to work together to protect and enhance this cherished American institution.

View a copy of the letter.



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