Policy Update Sep 23, 2021

NPCA position on provisions included in the 2021 House National Defense Authorization Act

 Ahead of an anticipated floor vote on final passage scheduled for September 23rd , 2021, NPCA shared the following statements in support of specific provisions included in the 2021 House NDAA. 

H.R. 577 - the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act: NPCA supports this bill, which would protect 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado including a long-overdue boundary designation for the Curecanti National Recreation Area (NRA). Although the NRA was created in 1965, it was never authorized through enabling legislation by Congress and therefore, its boundary was never designated. This legislative deficiency seems minor, but it has limited the NPS’s ability to efficiently manage the area. This bill provides an appropriate boundary through transfer and exchange of lands 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 NPS to work with landowners to enhance the long-term conservation of natural, recreational and scenic resources within the park unit. The bill also designates the firstever National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale that pays tribute to the brave veterans who fought in World War II as part of the 10th Mountain Division and fulfills their wishes to preserve this landscape.

H.R. 803 - the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act: NPCA strongly supports this bill, which includes three titles that would greatly enhance and further protect resources within the National Park System.

  • Title I of H.R. 803 advances a citizen-led vision of permanently protecting approximately 660,000 acres of public land in Colorado as designated wilderness. These proposed designations are directly adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument and near Mesa Verde National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area. World-renowned for its public lands and outdoor recreation, many of Colorado’s remaining wildlands face serious and growing threats from oil and gas development and massive population growth. Permanent protection for these vulnerable areas has co-benefits for our national parks, local economies and the future of our public lands.
  • Title III of H.R. 803 designates wilderness and wild and scenic rivers in Washington state. Driven by local communities, this legislation protects ecosystems and recreational opportunities in and around Olympic National Park, including trail systems, wildlife habitats and scenery. The river protections will better connect salmon to the mountainous heart of the park and the sea, especially along the Elwha River which is a world-class river restoration project within the park’s largest watershed.
  • Title VI of H.R. 803 expands protection for the Rim of the Valley corridor in California from the Santa Susana Mountains to the heart of the city at El Pueblo de Los Angeles. This area is rich in historic and cultural sites, critical wildlife corridors, waterways and landscapes worthy of national recognition by the National Park Service (NPS). With more than 17 million people, the Los Angeles metropolitan area is the second most populous region of the country; yet has less open space per capita than all other large cities on the west coast. The expanded presence of NPS will facilitate new community partnerships and better connect youth and families to the outdoors building a new generation of national park enthusiasts. Additionally, the expansion respects local land use authorities, forbids the use of eminent domain and does not impact the rights of private property owners.

H.R. 1052 - the Grand Canyon Protection Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which offers further protections to Grand Canyon National Park, its watershed and the water sources vital to the Havasupai people from the impacts of uranium mining. This legislation would make permanent the current 20-year ban on new uranium mining for one million acres surrounding the park. This action will preserve for future generations the beauty and health of what is one of America’s most awe-inspiring places. Tribal leaders, business owners, local officials and conservation groups all support this permanent prohibition. It is not worth risking contamination of a national jewel and the booming tourism and recreation industries that employ thousands of Americans and bring hundreds of millions of dollars to rural communities