Press Release Dec 3, 2014

Federal Legislation Could Mean Largest National Park System Expansion in Decades

National Parks Conservation Association, with Local Communities and Businesses, Spent Years Advocating for Key Park Sites, Expansions and Studies

After years of advocacy and coalition building efforts by National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), numerous local communities, local businesses and scientists, the National Parks System could see its largest expansion in decades.

In a true bipartisan effort, legislation negotiated by leaders in the House and Senate was introduced late last night in the U.S. House of Representatives.  That legislation includes a significant national parks package.  If passed by Congress and signed into law, the National Defense Authorization Act will carry with it the establishment of six new national park units, the expansion of nine national park sites, and the extension of 14 National Heritage Areas, effectively shaking loose a five-year stalemate on public lands measures in Congress.

“If passed, this legislation will protect places taken right out of the pages of our history and science books,” said Clark Bunting, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association.  “From the sites associated with the Manhattan Project to the legacy of Harriet Tubman in New York and Maryland to the North Fork Watershed in Montana and Ice Age fossils in Nevada, these are stories that deserve to be told in the name of strengthening our country’s best idea.  And these are places that deserve to be preserved for all Americans to experience.”

Many of the proposed new and expanded national park sites would further diversify the National Park System, including the Tule Springs site which is less than 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and would offer a significant opportunity for an urban community to visit a fossil-rich national park.  Many will permanently protect places that played key roles in our nation’s history, including the historic Gettysburg train station where President Abraham Lincoln arrived to deliver his seminal Gettysburg Address.  And many of these sites would provide visitors with a richer adventure, including the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve where the watershed and marble caves will be protected.