04.03.19

Rep. Kilmer Recognized as National Park Champion

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) received the 2019 National Park Heritage Award from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), a leading voice in protecting and enhancing America's National Park System for present and future generations. The award recognizes Rep. Kilmer’s leadership on the landmark John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (S.47), a bipartisan public lands package that consisted of more than one hundred public lands, natural resources, and water bills.

“I was lucky to grow up with Olympic National Park in my backyard. I’ve seen firsthand how our public lands have captivated both visitors and residents alike and served as key economic drivers for our local communities,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This legislation delivered on our region’s long-standing priorities to protect our environment and support continued access to our public lands for generations to come. From the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, to the creation of Washington’s first two National Heritage Areas, this represents a huge win for our region’s uniqueness, our economy, and our public lands. I want to thank the National Parks Conversation Association for this award and for their tireless advocacy to help ensure Congress passed this critical bill.”

“It’s an honor to recognize Representative Kilmer for championing this historic law that will enhance the National Park System for generations to come,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association. “Our national parks protect the stories that define and unite us as a nation. Now, thanks to this new law, we have even more places to enjoy the outdoors and learn about our nation’s history. We commend Congressional leaders like Rep. Kilmer, who worked with colleagues across the aisle and across the country in support of our shared national parks and public lands that their constituents, and all Americans, care so deeply about.”

The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to ensure that the program can continue supporting conservation and recreation in communities across the country. Since its creation, LWCF has supported more than 600 projects for parks, trails and other outdoor spaces in Washington, including popular sites like Olympic National Park, Lake Chelan, Gas Works Park, and Riverside State Park. In that time, the LWCF has invested $675 million in Washington’s economy.

The legislation also included a bill led by Rep. Kilmer and Representative Denny Heck (D-WA) to establish a National Maritime Heritage Area in Washington state. The Kilmer-Heck Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 975), which was championed in the Senate by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), designates a majority of Western Washington’s shoreline as a National Heritage Area to help promote maritime-related tourism, economic development, and maritime history as told through Washington state’s museums, historic ships, fishing culture, and other activities. Congress has designated 49 National Heritage Areas nationwide to promote local economic growth and tourism and support sites and landmarks with cultural and historical significance. More information regarding the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act can be found here. Further important Washington state provisions can be found here.

Additionally, Rep. Kilmer serves as the lead Democrat sponsor of the bipartisan Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225), which would take existing government revenue and allocate it to the National Park Service (NPS) to address a $12 billion maintenance backlog, which has delayed the upkeep of visitor centers, rest stops, trails, campgrounds and transportation infrastructure operated by NPS in Washington state and across the country.

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About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.

Nat. Park Champion

Representative Kilmer and local representatives from the National Parks Conservation Association.