Press Release Apr 28, 2015

National Park Champions Honored on Capitol Hill

NPCA's National Park Heritage Award recognizes bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives.

WASHINGTON – Today, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will present 81 members of Congress with the National Park Heritage Award. This award commemorates their support of the major public lands bills included in the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which included the largest expansion of the National Park System in nearly three decades.

“It’s an honor to recognize these members of Congress for championing this historic diversification and expansion of our National Park System,” said NPCA President and CEO Clark Bunting. “Our national parks aren’t a Republican or Democratic issue. They’re an American issue. And these sites must be preserved for future generations. As the National Park System readies for its 100th anniversary, it’s inspiring to see representatives and senators from across the nation and across the aisle work together to enhance America’s ‘best idea.’”

The National Defense Authorization Act created seven new national park sites, including Tule Springs in Nevada. Tule Springs includes prehistoric Ice Age fossils of lions, bison, mammoths, dire wolves, and saber-tooth cats. The protection of this area will help scientists, students and the public learn more about the fascinating history hidden under these desert lands and ensure these fossils are preserved for generations to come.

Other new park sites include historically significant lands where Harriet Tubman lived as a young woman and after the Civil War, and sites in Washington, New Mexico, and Tennessee that combine to form the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The authorization bill also expanded nine existing sites, including the Gettysburg National Military Park to incorporate the Gettysburg train station where President Abraham Lincoln stepped onto its platform on his way to dedicate the Gettysburg National Cemetery and deliver his Gettysburg Address.

Additionally, Congress extended funding authorization for 15 heritage areas and authorized eight formal resource studies to determine whether other sites would be appropriate for future inclusion in the National Park System, including Mill Springs Battlefield, the site of a major turning point of the Civil War in Kentucky.

The senators and representatives who championed pieces of the public lands package included in the final legislation will be honored today at a reception in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The National Park Heritage Award recipients are listed below, and more information regarding the seven new sites, nine expansions, eight resource studies, and 15 National Heritage Area expansions is available here.

List of Members of Congress Receiving a National Park Heritage Award


Winners of the National Park Heritage Award, 2015

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is honored to present 81 members of Congress with the National Park Heritage Award.

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit

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