WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) highlighted the need to provide support for the National Park Service and its conservation projects, and he discussed the importance of addressing the maintenance backlog facing U.S. national parks.
The hearing was held to receive testimony on S. 2257, the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Act, a bill to honor the agency's 100th anniversary--which will be celebrated in 2016--by establishing an endowment to fund NPS' critical infrastructure projects, partnerships to enhance visitor experiences, and volunteer opportunities in national parks and historic sites. Witnesses for today's hearing included U.S. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich addressed the need to reduce the maintenance backlog, particularly road transportation and other infrastructure projects, facing America's national parks. Senator Heinrich highlighted that New Mexico faces maintenance backlog issues, including in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and Bandelier National Monument.
Later in the hearing, Senator Heinrich discussed why it's important to legislatively establish an endowment as part of the National Park Service Centennial Act and the type of conservation programs the funding aims to support.