Press Release Nov 24, 2015

House Natural Resources Chair Introduces Centennial Act

Draft Bill Would Establish Fund for Public-Private Partnerships to Fix Up Parks

WASHINGTON – House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) this week introduced his draft proposal for addressing critical maintenance and improvement projects in our national parks as the Park Service prepares to celebrate its centennial next year.

Chairman Bishop’s National Park Service Centennial Act would establish a Centennial Challenge Fund for matching federal dollars with private donations to fund maintenance and youth engagement projects at parks across the country. It also establishes an endowment within the National Parks Foundation for future donations and includes provisions for increasing partner and volunteer involvement in parks.

In September, Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced his own Centennial Act proposal that forwards the Administration’s proposed bill.

Below is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association:

“Chairman Bishop’s draft National Park Service Centennial Act is an important contribution to the bipartisan efforts to address national parks’ long-term financial challenges. America’s national parks are facing billions of dollars’ worth of repairs, from deteriorating historic locks at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to a failing Great Depression-era water system at the Grand Canyon.

“This draft legislation also builds on past park funding successes. By harnessing the power of public-private partnerships and establishing an endowment for national parks, the legislation would help secure financial resources for key projects across the national park system, benefitting parks, visitors and surrounding communities.

“The bill also recognizes the importance of parks and historic sites as places of learning by evaluating and broadening interpretation and education programs, and by improving and enhancing the use of partners and volunteers in our nation’s treasures.

“The release of this draft bill, as well as the administration’s Centennial proposal introduced by Ranking Member Grijalva, shows real progress in ensuring parks have the resources and support they need to thrive in their second century. We look forward to working with members of the Natural Resources Committee on a final bipartisan bill and we hope members of the Senate further this effort by introducing their own centennial bill soon.”

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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.