Kilmer Applauds Passage of Bill to Increase Investments in National Parks

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) applauded House passage of a bill to increase investments in our national park system. The bipartisan National Park Service Centennial Act would allow critical projects to move forward that can enhance the experience of visitors to the national park system. The legislation now moves to the Senate for passage before heading to the President’s desk. 

The year 2016 marked the National Park Service’s centennial. 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 found that in 2014 alone, Olympic National Park visitors supported 3,500 local jobs.

“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,” said Kilmer. “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. I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill that ensures that our parks enjoy another successful 100 years.” 

The bill that passed the House today creates the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund, supporting 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 (NPCA) has also recognized Kilmer with the Friend of the National Parks Award for his support of national parks in Congress.