Press Release Dec 4, 2014

House Passage of Key Legislation Poises Senate for Approving the Most Significant National Park System Expansion in Decades

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

Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that includes provisions that could mean the most significant National Park System expansion in decades.  If passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law, the legislation will carry with it the establishment of seven new National Park units, the expansion of nine national park sites, and the extension of 15 National Heritage Areas, effectively shaking loose a five-year stalemate on public lands measures in Congress.

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), numerous local communities, local businesses, and scientists have spent years advocating for many of the new and expanded parks included in this legislation.

“If signed into law, 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.

This public lands package is monumental in terms of expanding our national park system, however NPCA remains mindful that it is not perfect.

“While this legislation includes two dozen bills that will enhance our national heritage and highlight our collective history, from innovation to science and nature, it also includes provisions that could harm our natural resources. It is those provisions that are of concern to us, both as park advocates and as conservationists. However, the gains we make for our parks, their communities and their visitors will have lasting effects for our nation,” said Theresa Pierno, Chief Operating Officer, National Parks Conservation Association.

Click hereto learn more about these opportunities to Tell America’s Stories through our National Park System.

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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 www.npca.org.