Congressman Derek Kilmer said the U.S. House of Representative’s passage of the National Park Service Centennial Act was a bipartisan effort to increase investments in the national park system.
And that means good things for Washington’s economy, he added.
The House passed the bill late last week, and the legislation now moves to the Senate for passage before heading to the President’s desk.
The National Park Service celebrated its centennial this year, and Kilmer noted the Olympic National Park encompasses nearly one million acres of Washington state and protects 73 miles of Pacific coastline. A study conducted by the National Park Service also found that in 2014 alone, Olympic National Park visitors supported 3,500 local jobs.
Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat who represents Washington’s 6th Congressional District, has fond memories of time spent in national parks.
“There wasn’t a summer of my childhood that didn’t involve family trips up Hurricane Ridge or visits to the Hoh Rainforest or other trips in Olympic National Park. It’s an iconic place where folks can take in the great outdoors,” Kilmer said.
“It also is a driver of our economy, creating a positive impact on employers and their workers. With that in mind, we need to ensure our parks are getting the maintenance and resources they need to continue providing amazing experiences for visitors,” he added. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill that ensures that our parks enjoy another successful 100 years.”
The bill that passed the House late last week creates the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund, which will support public-private partnerships that will go toward key projects to build, maintain and provide new educational resources for the parks. It also encourages volunteers to help out in the system by authorizing the Volunteers in the Parks program.
For President Obama’s last State of the Union address Kilmer invited Sarah Creachbaum, Superintendent of Olympic National Park. The National Parks Conservation Association has also recognized Kilmer with the Friend of the National Parks Award for his support of national parks in Congress.