Policy Update Nov 20, 2020

NPCA position on legislation before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

NPCA shared the following positions with members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining ahead of a legislative hearing scheduled for November 18th. 

H.R. 823/S. 241 – Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act: NPCA supports this legislation to protect 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado, including providing a long overdue boundary designation for the Curecanti National Recreation Area (NRA), which would authorize the establishment of the area as an official member of the National Park System. Although the NRA was created in 1965, it was never afforded enabling legislation by Congress, and therefore its boundary was never designated. This administrative deficiency seems minor, but it has limited the National Park Service’s ability to efficiently manage the area. The CORE Act fixes this by providing an appropriate boundary through transfer and exchange of land with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The proposed boundary adjustment is the result of a years-long extensive public planning process and will allow the National Park Service to work with landowners to enhance the long-term conservation of natural, recreational and scenic resources within the park unit. The CORE Act is also a response to the interests of nearly one million visitors who travel to the area to fish, hike and recreate, and to the local gateway economies that depend upon this visitation and enhancement of its recreational opportunities.

S. 1695- Human Powered Travel In Wilderness Act: NPCA opposes this legislation, which would undermine a bedrock environmental law and jeopardize the protection of wilderness areas in national parks and public lands by opening them to mechanized activities including mountain biking. The Wilderness Act was written to maintain primitive activities in designated wilderness. These areas were intended to be our most wild, undeveloped lands. This legislation violates the spirit and intent of the law.

S.4569 - Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Boundary Adjustment Act: NPCA strongly supports this simple but important measure to bring this park unit’s visitor center into the monument and under full management of the Park Service. Due to a historic error, the center is located just outside the monument proper, on land administered by Coconino National Forest. For years, any Visitor Center improvement or project faced two sets of approval, from both the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture. This legislation solves the problem by transferring jurisdiction of 97.71 acres from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service. This plan is endorsed by both agencies. The bill has bipartisan support from both of Arizona’s U.S. Senators and local officials.

S. 4599 – Pecos Watershed Protection Act: NPCA strongly supports this legislation, noting the benefits and protection it imparts on the water quality of the Pecos River – a crucial cold-water habitat suitable for cutthroat, brown, and rainbow trout – thereby benefiting Pecos National Monument and its relevant fishery. The fishery at the Pecos River in Pecos National Monument is an important community resource, and brings economic and educational benefits to the area. By withdrawing the watershed from activities in the upper watershed such as mining, appropriation and geothermal leasing, which would have a direct adverse impact on the water quality of the river downstream and land health of the watershed, this legislation will protect the river from its headwaters in the Pecos Wilderness to its reaches further downstream in the community of Pecos and in Pecos National Monument.