NPCA sent the following letter on S. 2886, S. 2887, and S. 3266 ahead of a hearing held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee scheduled for December 2, 2021.
S. 2886 - Cape and Antler Preservation Enhancement Act: NPCA opposes this legislation, which would fundamentally alter wildlife management in the National Park System. Decisions on culling on National Park Service (NPS) lands should be rooted in science and utilized as a crucial wildlife management tool to ensure biodiversity in a park is maintained. Culling efforts within the legislated boundary of a national park is led by the government, or its authorized agent, to meet clear conservation goals. This legislation is contrary to the NPS mission and standards for culling by essentially creating a loophole to allow trophy hunting in parks where hunting is prohibited. This bill would not add value to the science-driven, professional approach the National Park Service utilizes in wildlife management.
S. 2887 - Outdoors for All Act: NPCA supports this bill to provide dedicated funding to the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership at the National Park Service. The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) is a nationally competitive matching grant program for communities to acquire land and water for parks or recreation purposes or develop new or renovate existing outdoor recreation facilities. Priority is given to urban areas that engage and empower underserved communities. Since OLRP’s start, millions in federal grants have been matched 1:1 by private and non-federal entities to provide benefits to communities. For example, projects completed include the acquisition and construction of a railroad trail connecting low and moderate-income communities with the riverfront and downtown business district in Fort Smith City, Arkansas and the development of a new recreation park on 13 acres of donated land in Hall County, Georgia. The Outdoors for All Act would ensure this program continues to support acquisition and renovation projects throughout the country to connect people of all ages and demographics with the outdoors.
S. 3266 – Outdoor Recreation Act: NPCA appreciates the intent of this legislation but is concerned with some of the specific provisions within the bill. For example, the lack of consistent definitions for “road” and “trail” in this legislation could result in maps that are incorrect and cause danger to the public or damage to resources. Section 104 charges BLM and USFS to construct shooting ranges in every National Forest and BLM district. These public lands are often immediately adjacent to NPS land, and the bill does not sufficiently outline mitigation efforts that must be undertaken to ensure a safe and unimpaired park experience. Section 201 outlines the need for increased broadband in federal recreation areas, but the extensive use and impacts to natural and cultural resources in order to build and maintain broadband at recreation sites within the National Park System must be studied further before implementation. The last few years have shown just how important getting into the outdoors is to the American public. To adequately implement this legislation, staffing levels and funding for federal agencies must be increased to ensure that this work does what it is intended to and provides benefits to the recreation community. NPCA hopes that this bill can be modified before it moves forward.
For More Information
Christina HazardLegislative Director, Government Affairs