Policy Update Jun 21, 2023

Position on S. 924, S. 1059 & S. 1097

NPCA submitted the following positions to members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks ahead of a hearing scheduled for June 21, 2023.

S. 924 – Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission Extension Act: NPCA supports this bill to amend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Development Act to extend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission. For more than 40 years, the C&O Canal National Historical Park Advisory Commission has served as a connector between the National Park Service and the many communities that surround the park. C&O Canal National Historical Park is unique because it includes a historic towpath, heavily used for recreation, that extends 184.5 miles through the District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia. The Advisory Commission plays an important role in engaging states and local municipalities in operations, maintenance and restoration efforts. Extending the Commission for an additional 10 years is critical as visitation continues to increase—which now exceeds 5 million hikers, campers, bicyclists and history enthusiasts annually.

S. 1059 – Big Bend National Park Boundary Adjustment Act: NPCA supports this legislation which would adjust the boundary of Big Bend National Park to include the Terlingua Creek property and bring a rare new water source and sensitive cultural resources ranging from prehistoric fossils to historic runs under the protection of the National Park Service. Big Bend National Park is a treasured destination for Texans and visitors from all over the world, preserving breathtaking landscapes rich in desert wildlife and thousands of years of history. The soaring vistas, epic hikes and some of the darkest skies in the world brought 581,000 visitors, a record number, to the park in 2021 and increased visitation by 76% over the last decade. This addition will enhance the protection of the park, bring inholdings into the boundaries, will not increase park management cost and provide a much-needed buffer from any potential development along the park’s western edge, ensuring the iconic and inspirational park will remain protected for generations to come to enjoy.

S. 1097 – César E. Chávez and the Farmworker Movement National Historical Park Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which would establish a historical park to preserve and interpret the stories of the Latinos, Filipinos, women and numerous other groups that fought alongside César Chávez and helped found the United Farm Workers (UFW), one of the most consequential movements of the 20th Century. The new park would include sites in Arizona and California and build upon the existing César Chávez National Monument in Keene, CA. The sites represent locations critical to Chávez’s development as a labor and civil rights leader, the first headquarters of the UFW, a retirement village built by volunteers for elderly Filipino farm workers and other significant locales. Additionally, the legislation calls for the examination of a potential National Historic Trail following the route of the nearly 300-mile march from Delano to Sacramento by farmworkers in 1965. The march brought national attention to the plight of workers in the fields and their harsh conditions and meager pay. César Chávez and the Farmworker Movement transformed agriculture and labor organizing in the American West and brought dignity, fair pay and better working conditions to hundreds of thousands of workers.