Policy Update May 4, 2021

Lobby Day 2021: Priorities for Congress

Congress has the opportunity to ensure our national parks, adjacent lands and local communities have the resources and protections they need to thrive.

Protect Wildlife Corridors


Yellowstone Pronghorn Project: Restoring Ancient Paths

Fences have long been a barrier for Yellowstone pronghorn antelope, as they migrate to crucial winter habitat beyond park borders. Despite being the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere,…

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  • From pronghorn antelope at Grand Teton to Florida panthers in the Everglades, national parks provide core habitat for a variety of species. But the same species that depend on parks require connectivity to habitat beyond park boundaries to thrive.

  • Connecting wildlife habitat is critical to helping wildlife find suitable habitat, food, water and mates. Species need the ability to move across landscapes to maintain healthy populations.

  • The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act gives federal land managers like the National Park Service (NPS) the authority to identify and better protect corridors to support connectivity, resilience and adaptability of native fish, wildlife and plants. This is complemented by a grant program for states, tribes and private landowners that would provide additional resources and opportunities for connectivity priorities identified at the local level.

Request: Cosponsor the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act when it is reintroduced this Congress.

Support National Park Service Funding

  • NPS has long been struggling with underfunding, but the challenge has worsened in recent years and high visitation has compounded the problem.

  • Between 2011 and 2019, NPS lost 16 percent of its staff capacity while at the same time struggling to accommodate a 17 percent increase in visitation.

  • Additional funding to operate the parks would help fill vacant positions, support efforts to address climate change, more adequately address cultural resource needs and make progress on diversifying the NPS workforce.

Request: Increase funding for NPS operations by $200 million in FY22.

Rebuild America’s Infrastructure in Parks and Surrounding Communities

Policy Update

Infrastructure needs in our National Parks

NPCA sent the following letter to the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee outling infrastructure needs in our parks and park landscapes. 

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  • Just as the nation is, national parks and surrounding communities are struggling with decaying roads, bridges, water systems and more.

  • NPS is second only to the Department of Defense in infrastructure. In 423 national park sites there are more than 75,000 structures, 10,000 miles of roads, 1,400 bridges, and hundreds of water systems with many needing repairs.

  • Much of the NPS infrastructure was built over 50 years ago during the post-World War II building boom and needs replacing or updating, particularly to ensure the structures can adapt to or mitigate the impacts from our changing climate. This includes investments in solar panels, electric shuttle buses and vehicle stations, and other renewable energy projects.

Request: Include replacing and rebuilding crumbling infrastructure in national parks and surrounding communities in any infrastructure package.

Support Public Participation in Oil and Gas Leasing on Public Lands

Policy Update

Threats to America’s National Parks from Oil and Gas and What Congress Can Do About It

NPCA released the following report that details the numerous threats that our park lands face from oil and & gas development and further outlines the various federal protections that can…

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  • Over the last four years, over 26 million acres of public lands were offered up for oil and gas development, sometimes on the doorsteps of public lands and national parks like Bears Ears National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and the lands surrounding Hovenweep National Monument.

  • Public lands were leased after severely curtailed input from the public and no consideration of environmental impacts or credible science. The Biden administration paused temporarily all oil and gas leasing on public lands to undergo a comprehensive review of the federal leasing program.

  • With fossil fuel production on public lands causing an estimated 25 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the public must be brought back into the process to ensure they’re heard as taxpayers and advocates.

Request: Cosponsor H.R. 1503, The Restoring Community Input and Public Protections in Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2021.

Support New Parks and Park Expansions

Fact Sheet

Ask Congress to Support the Amache National Historic Site Act (H.R. 2497/S.1284)

Introduced by Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Ken Buck (R-CO) and Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, the bipartisan Amache National Historic Site Act (H.R. 2497/S.1284) would make the Granada…

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  • Since Yellowstone National Park was first established in 1872, the National Park System has grown to encompass 423 national park sites that protect some of our nation’s most treasured places and difficult stories. Congress can work together to preserve the many landscapes and historic sites across the U.S. that have yet to attain the protections they deserve.

  • Legislative efforts are underway to ensure our parks tell stories that accurately represent the diversity and complexity of our nation’s history. One such effort is the establishment of the Amache National Historic Site, a Japanese incarceration center established during WWII.

  • Additionally, the Senate has the opportunity to pass the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act to further protect the Grand Canyon, Rim of the Valley, Great Dismal Swamp and Casa Grande Ruins.

  • By supporting the expansion and protection of these sites, Congress will ensure new and existing national park sites remain accessible for generations of Americans to come.

Request: Support the passage H.R. 2497/S. 1284 to designate the Amache National Historic Site and H.R 803 in the Senate to provide further protections to some of America’s most iconic sites.