The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202.454.3332

R.E.I. President Testifies Before Congress on Importance of Service in National Parks


Testifying before a House Subcommittee today on behalf of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Board Trustee and R.E.I., Inc. President and CEO Sally Jewell advocated that service opportunities in the national parks and other public lands be expanded.

In speaking about H.R. 1612, the Public Lands Service Corps Act,
Jewell said, "[it] seeks to benefit our national parks and other public
lands by unleashing the spirit and energy of committed Americans who,
working with their government, can help our nation capitalize on the
potential for our national parks to produce significant civic benefits,
stimulate local economies, educate Americans about our shared heritage,
and protect our national treasures for the use and enjoyment of our
children and grandchildren."

NPCA has called for the creation of a new National Parks Service Corps
with 10,000 new service positions that would help the National Park
Service to address the maintenance and preservation needs of our
national parks, and foster stronger connections between parks,
visitors, and communities.

As introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva,
the Public Lands Service Corps Act would expand this proposal to also
initiate new service opportunities on other public lands, and would
encourage service projects that restore public lands and link to
classroom learning in history, biology, and civics. Jewell suggested
that service work by youth and older Americans can help address many
challenges the national parks face, including projects to "rehabilitate
campgrounds and deteriorating structures throughout the National Park
System, renovate and help maintain historic sites, and help conduct
natural and cultural resource management, science and research

In her written testimony, Jewell asserted that, "NPCA strongly
believes that national service in our national parks should be
sufficiently broad to encompass the tremendous civic, historical, and
scientific resources and learning opportunities that our national parks
have to offer."

Jewell called H.R. 1612 a necessary complement effort to the national service legislation Congress passed this week.

NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.