Press Release Feb 26, 2019

House Advances Landmark bill to Protect More than 2 Million Acres of National Parks and Public Lands

Today marks a great day in history for our national parks and public lands. 

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47), which provides protection for more than two million acres of public lands. This legislation was passed by the Senate earlier this month and will now go to President Trump’s desk for his signature. National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), its supporters and partner organizations have worked for years to achieve some of these important park victories, including the creation of two new national monuments in Kentucky and Mississippi, a major expansion and redesignation of Ocmulgee National Monument in Georgia, and mineral withdrawals that will protect lands near North Cascades and Yellowstone National Parks from new mining operations, among other provisions, including:

  • The bill will expand national parks by more than 42,000 acres, expand the National Trails System by 2,600 miles and add 621 miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
  • Create 1.3 million acres of new designated wilderness, of which approximately 88,000 acres will be managed by the Park Service, as part of Death Valley National Park.
  • Prevent new mining operations on 370,000 acres outside of North Cascades and Yellowstone National Parks.
  • Establish six new national heritage areas that are managed by the Park Service.
  • Permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of our nation’s most important conservation tools protecting public lands from incompatible development.
  • Continue the Every Kid in a Park program that provides free entry to America’s public lands, including all of our national park sites, for fourth graders and their families.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association:

“Today marks a great day in history for our national parks and public lands as more than two million acres of new park sites, monuments, trails, rivers and wilderness areas will now be protected. Even during these divisive times, Congress has come together to protect the very places that speak to who we are as a nation. This legislation is once again proof that our national parks are powerful places that unite and inspire us.

“This package is the biggest piece of conservation legislation passed in years and encompasses decades of hard work by NPCA and our allies. From Yellowstone’s iconic landscape to the fragile wilderness of the California desert and centuries-old archaeological structures in Ocmulgee National Monument, this legislation protects some of our nation’s most treasured public lands, wilderness areas, waterways, wildlife, and outstanding recreational opportunities. Through new park designations and expansions, this legislation paves the way for a more diverse and inclusive National Park System that more adequately reflects our rich and diverse cultural heritage and evolving national narrative. And now, future generations will have the opportunity to more easily access and experience all their national parks and public lands have to offer. We commend the many members of Congress who were champions for this bipartisan measure and worked tirelessly to preserve these treasured places that remain vital to our economy and local communities across the country.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.

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