Congress, not presidential proclamation, should establish national parks

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This summer, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated its 103rd anniversary. The NPS, the leading agency responsible for maintaining national parks and monuments, remains popular among the general public. Yet, the reservation of public lands is not without controversy, especially when it comes to national monuments.

One key difference between national parks and national monuments is how they are created. National parks can only be established by an act of Congress. Monuments, on the other hand, are established by presidential proclamation.

The power to establish monuments comes from the Antiquities Act of 1906. The original purpose of the Antiquities Act, as its name suggests, was to allow the president to quickly protect antiquities and other historic objects from looters.

Five Fun Ways to Celebrate National Park Week

nps logoWASHINGTON – Ring in spring with a visit to a national park during National Park Week, April 15 through 23. Throughout the country, hundreds of programs and events will encourage visitors to explore new places and enjoy new experiences. More information is available at www.nationalparkweek.org.

"Our National Parks are our national treasure," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "My formative years were spent in Glacier National Park and one of my biggest mentors was a park ranger and football coach. The lessons you learn from the land and the park rangers cannot be learned anywhere else on earth. As we head into the next 100 years of the Park Service, I'm looking at ways to improve infrastructure and visitor experience while conserving the precious lands for generations to come."

“There are 417 national parks and each one has a story to tell,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael F. Reynolds. “There are endless options during National Park Week to discover someplace or something out of the ordinary. Whether one seeks relaxation, exhilaration, or inspiration, there is something for everyone in a national park.”

Five Fun Ways to Celebrate National Park Week

nps logoWASHINGTON – Ring in spring with a visit to a national park during National Park Week, April 15 through 23. Throughout the country, hundreds of programs and events will encourage visitors to explore new places and enjoy new experiences. More information is available at www.nationalparkweek.org.

"Our National Parks are our national treasure," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "My formative years were spent in Glacier National Park and one of my biggest mentors was a park ranger and football coach. The lessons you learn from the land and the park rangers cannot be learned anywhere else on earth. As we head into the next 100 years of the Park Service, I'm looking at ways to improve infrastructure and visitor experience while conserving the precious lands for generations to come."

“There are 417 national parks and each one has a story to tell,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael F. Reynolds. “There are endless options during National Park Week to discover someplace or something out of the ordinary. Whether one seeks relaxation, exhilaration, or inspiration, there is something for everyone in a national park.”


Following are just five of the fun ways you can celebrate National Park Week.

Try Something New

Introductory programs during National Park Week might just get you hooked on a new interest. Brush up on astronomy at a Night Sky Party in Saguaro National Park, go birding at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, take a photo workshop at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, make pottery at Ocmulgee National Monument, dance to Cajun music at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, or try your hand at surf fishing at Gateway National Recreation Area.

Save Some Money

There will be free entrance to all national parks during the weekends of National Park Week. The 118 National Park Service sites that normally charge entrance fees will offer free admission on April 15, 16, 22, and 23. There are also free or reduced rate annual passes available for active duty military families, fourth grade students, senior citizens, volunteers, and people with permanent disabilities.

Become a Junior Ranger

National Park Week starts with National Junior Ranger Day on April 15. Throughout the country, kids of all ages can take part in family friendly events and earn a park-specific Junior Ranger badge. Children can see a bald eagle up close at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, participate in crafts at Lowell National Historical Park, go on an archeology dig at Chiricahua National Monument, or test their global positioning system (GPS) skills in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Fill a Park Prescription

The second annual Park Prescription Day will be filled with activities that showcase the physical, mental, and psychological health benefits of time in nature. Supported by increasing scientific evidence, many medical doctors now write prescriptions for the outdoors as an antidote for ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. On April 23, dozens of parks, including Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Shenandoah National Park, Capulin Volcano National Monument, Tumacácori National Historical Park, Prince William Forest Park, Hot Springs National Park, and park partners will host activities that include hikes, health screenings, yoga, and volleyball.

Go Wild on Earth Day

Spend some time outside on Earth Day, April 22. Attend a wildlife festival on the Natchez Trace Parkway, go for a walk on the wild side at Cabrillo National Monument, learn to canoe on the Niobrara National Scenic River, make an appearance at a drama festival at Chamizal National Memorial, listen to a concert at Buffalo National River, weave a pine needle basket at Fort Matanzas National Monument, or meet a Civil War soldier at Stones River National Battlefield.

Visit www.nps.gov to plan your park visit. The site contains trip planning information and a calendar of events. Use #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque and #NPS101 on social media during National Park Week to join in the fun!

Maine receives first designated National Monument

Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument Permanently Protects Mountains, Forests & Waters of North-Central Maine, Builds on Robust Tradition of Growing National Park System through Private Philanthropy 

WASHINGTON – On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today applauded President Obama’s designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the first national monument to preserve the landscape and honor the history and culture of Maine’s North Woods. The President’s use of the Antiquities Act to make this designation permanently protects 87,500 acres of lands donated to the National Park Service earlier this week by the Elliottsville Plantation, Inc., (EPI), including the East Branch of the Penobscot River and its tributaries, one of the most pristine watersheds in the Northeast.

National Park Visitor Spending Contributed $40 Billion to U.S. Economy

Report Finds 2018 Spending Supported 329,000 jobs in Hotels, Restaurants, Transportation, Recreation

doi-logoWASHINGTON – As the summer vacation and travel seasons opens, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced today that visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs.

According to the annual National Park Service report, 2018 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, more than 318 million visitors spent $20.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of a park in the National Park System. Of the 329,000 jobs supported by visitor spending, more than 268,000 jobs exist in the park gateway communities.

Natural Resources Comment to New Monument

house nrPresident’s Maine Monument Decree Subverts Representative Democracy to Advance Elite Special Interests

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Obama, despite opposition by Maine’s local residents and elected officials, unilaterally created a national monument in Maine’s North Woods. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

NPS CENTENNIAL TO INCLUDE YOUTH OUTREACH, BACKLOG REDUCTION

American Recreation CoalitionWashington, D.C. (Feb. 3, 2015) – President Barack Obama used his FY2016 budget request to outline plans to keep parks relevant to an increasingly urban and diverse nation and to invite all Americans to help support their parks.  His requests include $20 million annually to transport over a million urban youth to national parks and public lands, with dedicated youth coordinators to welcome them and their families, and a significant increase in the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Challenge program, which leverages federal spending at least 1:1 with contributions and partner funding and helps reduce the large NPS deferred-maintenance backlog.

Perfect Pairs

usfws logoComplement your national park trip with a stop at a nearby wildlife refuge

Visiting a national park this summer? Pair it with a side trip to a less discovered cousin – a national wildlife refuge.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protects natural habitat for America’s treasured wildlife species, helps clean our air and water and offers access to world-class recreation, such as fishing, hunting and nature watching.

Refuges are surprisingly close to some of the country’s most celebrated canyons, mountains and springs. And often, they are way less crowded. Consider these perfect pairs.

What They Are Saying – National Park Service Announces Policy for Electric Bicycle Use in National Parks

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Washington - On August 30, the National Park Service announced a new electric bicycle (e-bike) policy for national parks, expanding recreational opportunities and accessibility. The policy supports Secretary’s Order 3376, signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt on August 29, that directs Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department. The policy also supports Secretary’s Order 3366 to increase recreational opportunities on public lands.

Wounded Veterans Find Healing at Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Six wounded veterans helped the National Park Service preserve the nation’s history and culture at Lake Mead National Recreation Area Nov. 7-9. At the same time, they found healing.

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The vets are part of the Wounded American Veterans Experience SCUBA Project, an organization that helps veterans overcome combat injuries through scuba diving. Just before Veterans Day, they teamed up with the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center to conduct their first dive within a national park.

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