Policy Update May 16, 2018

Position on S. 1403, S. 1645, S. 1646, S. 2102, H.R. 965 & H.R. 2897

NPCA submitted the following positions to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ahead of a Business Meeting scheduled for May 17, 2018.

S. 1403: 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act of 2017 – NPCA supports this legislation to amend the Public Lands Corps Act to establish the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to place young people and/or veterans in national service positions to conserve and restore our national parks and other federal lands. NPCA supports this effort to teach youth and veterans skills to successfully transition to the workforce while instilling the importance of our public lands.

S. 1645: Thurgood Marshall’s Elementary School Study Act – NPCA supports this legislation that would study P.S. 103 and the surrounding neighborhood of West Baltimore, Maryland in order to determine significance, suitability and feasibility of being a unit of the National Park System. Former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall attended the public school as a youth and lived in the neighborhood throughout his childhood.

S. 1646: President Street Station Study Act – NPCA supports this legislation that would study the President Street Station in Baltimore, Maryland in order to determine significance, suitability and feasibility of being a unit of the National Park System. The former train station was an important rail transportation link during the Civil War and is the oldest surviving big-city railroad terminal in the United States.

S. 2102/H.R. 4266: Acadia National Park Boundary Clarification Act –NPCA supports this bill to address the boundary of Acadia National Park and provide for some additional administrative provisions. The bill would codify the Schoodic Peninsula addition to the park, an area of pristine beauty and with improved public amenities to allow visitors to camp, bike and hike the Schoodic Woods while finding peace and solitude along Maine’s stunning and undeveloped coastline. NPCA also supports the permanent authorization of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission as it plays an integral role in providing local feedback to creatively problem solve and move toward successes at Acadia National Park. We also support the modification of the land use designation for the Tremont School to allow for public uses. NPCA supports language to allow the park to transfer or exchange land up to 10 acres on a case-by-case basis, including when there are land survey errors or road realignments.

However, NPCA is concerned with Section 8 of S. 2102/H.R. 4266: Continuation of Certain Traditional Uses, as it lists specific organisms that would be allowed for harvesting, as regulated by the State of Maine. NPCA supports allowing the Park Service at Acadia to monitor and regulate harvesting practices in the inter-tidal zone surrounding the park, though only using traditional methods. NPCA seeks a clarification of legislative intent that “traditional” does not include mechanized harvesting, but rather “non-mechanized” or “by-hand” methods.

H.R. 965: Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act – NPCA supports this legislation to redesignate Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site as Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park. The National Historical Park designation applies to sites that extend beyond a single historical feature or property. The Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site not only encompasses the studio and estate of world-renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, but also includes the Cornish Art Colony and Blow-Me-Down Farm. In the decades before World War I, these sites together comprised one of America’s most prolific and vibrant artist communities. At 370 acres, the site is larger than over a third of present-day National Historical Parks and contains three nature trails for hiking. The redesignation to Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park more accurately reflects the site and the rich cultural heritage of the era.

H.R. 2897: A bill to authorize the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Director of the National Park Service to enter into cooperative management agreements for the operation, maintenance, and management of units of the National Park System in the District of Columbia - NPCA is concerned that the language outlined in Section 1(a) expands the District of Columbia’s role in park management by allowing the city unprecedented oversight of management, operation, and design and construction of improvements of park units. Cooperative agreements are intended to introduce shared responsibility for the protection and preservation of national parks but they cannot relieve the Park Service of their stewardship duties. We encourage the committee to consider inserting the District of Columbia into the current code instead of inserting the language as outlined in Section 1(a).