Policy Update Oct 19, 2021

NPCA letter of support for the nomination of Charles F. Sams III to be Director of the National Park Service

NPCA sent the following letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ahead of a hearing scheduled for October 19th, 2021. 

On behalf of our nearly 1.6 million members and supporters nationwide, we urge you to support the nomination of Charles F. Sams III as Director of the National Park Service.

Our national parks are symbols of conservation, historic preservation and our shared heritage. With so many challenges facing our parks from extraordinarily high visitation to the effects of climate change, now is the time to put in place a leader who can mobilize the capable and effective National Park Service staff toward science and community-based solutions.

Mr. Sams multi-decade career has been rooted in ensuring the protection of cultural and natural resources. His extensive background has prepared him to adeptly handle the wide-ranging issues that a National Park Service Director manages. In Mr. Sams professional roles as a leader of government within the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, he has had experience engaging on a wide range of complex issues such as infrastructure, flooding, and COVID-19. Whether dealing with those issues, or more sensitive topics like landscape protections or water rights, Mr. Sams has consistently worked to ensure that the proper experts and communities are involved in decision making and that sound environmental principles are prioritized. Mr. Sams diverse background, which includes a military career, uniquely prepares him to take on the role of National Park Service Director. Through decades of conservation coordination across the country, Sams brings invaluable experience and a powerful perspective that will help position the National Park Service for the 21st Century.

In addition to being a noted conservation leader, Mr. Sams has a history of bringing community together to address environmental threats. Throughout his career, Sams has formed powerful relationships across Tribal Nations, all levels of government and the conservation community, navigating difficult issues in an inclusive and caring way. Given the wide range of impacts the Park Service faces, public involvement is more important than ever. Mr. Sams experience working cross-culturally on sensitive issues also positions him well to usher in reforms that would address park staff morale and retention, gender-based workplace issues, and park policing. Throughout all of Mr. Sams work, he has consistently revealed that his personal values reflect the aspirations and goals of the park service. Mr. Sams character, evidenced in his years of service to our nation and tireless environmental advocacy, demonstrates why he is the right nominee to build a workforce that adheres to the highest ideals of the NPS mission and ensures the wellbeing of those 20,000 park service employees.

The National Park Service has been too long without an appointed Director providing the steady leadership that it needs. Swiftly confirming Mr. Sams to be National Park Service Director will allow him to immediately support staff and ensure our nations most treasured natural and cultural resources can be protected in perpetuity. We urge the committee to confirm his nomination.