Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 20, 2018
Angela Gonzales, Press Secretary
P: 202.419.3712 | media@nationalparksaction.org

Washington, DC — The failure of Congress to pass funding legislation and the resulting government shutdown is putting our national parks, and the resources they protect, at risk.

Statement by Kristen Brengel, Executive Director of National Parks Action Fund:

“National parks are some of our country’s greatest treasures. The Trump Administration’s plan to keep parks partially open while minimally staffed during the government shutdown, is an abdication of their responsibility to protect these natural, cultural, and historic resources. Congress and the administration need to work together to end the government shutdown and get our national parks fully open and rangers back on the job.”

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: December 5, 2017
CONTACT: Angela Gonzales, Deputy Press Secretary
P: 202.419.3712 | media@nationalparksaction.org

President Trump Attempts to Dismantle Two National Monuments

WASHINGTON – National Parks Action Fund Executive Director Kristen Brengel reacts to President Trump’s attempt to revoke Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah:

“Today’s announcement by President Trump to revoke protection for amazing red rock desert canyons, streams and cultural sites is a dangerous path for the future of our national parks and monuments. Americans cherish these memorable and awe-inspiring places in southern Utah. Removing protection and allowing mining, off-road vehicles, and oil and gas drilling will mar Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, places that share ecosystems with national parks. Today is a terrible day for national parks.”

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals. Learn more at https://nationalparksaction.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: August 24, 2017
CONTACT: Amy Hagovsky, Vice President, Communications
P: 202-365-5912 | media@nationalparksaction.org

Interior Secretary Recommends Dismantling America’s National Monuments
Arbitrary Process Could Result in Hatchet Job on Some of America’s Favorite Places

WASHINGTON – According to a news report today, and after an arbitrary review process lacking in transparency, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending shrinking some of America’s national monuments.  The review was conducted in response to an April 26 Presidential Executive Order, which instructed Interior to look at national monuments designated using the Antiquities Act.

Below is a statement by National Parks Action Fund Executive Director Kristen Brengel following today’s news:
“Like most Americans, we are extremely disturbed by Secretary Zinke’s decision to dismantle protections for our public lands and waters.  These are places that were protected for very clear reasons, from scientific value to biodiversity to historic preservation.  Yet they are being torn apart for very unclear reasons, and in what appears to be a very arbitrary, political process conducted behind closed doors.

“Every member of Congress should be on notice.  Americans, their constituents, won’t take this news lightly.  More than 2.7 million comments were received by the Administration, in support of park and monument protections.  To endorse Secretary Zinke’s plan is to endorse taking away something that belongs to all of us.  And in doing so, ignoring the millions of people who spoke up in support of the very places that define us.  Protections for places as special and important as national parks and monuments shouldn’t be thrown away in a careless process.”

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals. Learn more at https://nationalparksaction.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 25, 2017
Angela Gonzales, Press Secretary
P: 202.419.3712 | media@nationalparksaction.org

Washington, DC — This week, the Trump Administration released its proposed FY2018 budget, which includes serious cuts to the National Park Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These cuts, 13 percent to the Park Service and 31 percent to the EPA, would seriously undermine the protection, management, and resilience of our national parks.

The budget proposal includes cuts to historic preservation, interpretative services, and staff positions at the Park Service. The cuts to the EPA include significant reductions or complete elimination of key programs aimed at protecting parks’ air and waters.

Statement by Kristen Brengel, Executive Director of National Parks Action Fund:

“National parks cannot run on nickels and dimes. When Glacier National Park has record visitation for three years in a row, it is a sign that we need to ensure it is protected and maintained for all visitors. This budget is a setback.

“The Administration is proposing the biggest cut to the National Park Service in over 70 years. They are cutting funding for park repairs, operations and even staffing. Critical funding to restore wildlife habitat and clean water to parks like Golden Gate National Recreation Area through programs supporting restoration of the San Francisco Bay should continue to be a priority. Our water and wildlife deserve a chance to thrive, but this budget completely eliminates programs like these.

“These cuts would greatly impact all visitors to our national parks and make our country’s shining crown jewels dull to the world. Congress must prevent this budget from seeing the light of day and they must pass a budget that ensures national parks will be preserved for future generations to explore and enjoy.”

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: April 26, 2017
CONTACT: Angela Gonzales, Social Media Director
P: 202.419.3712 | media@nationalparksaction.org

Washington, DC — Today, President Trump directed the Department of the Interior to review dozens of national monuments — those designated since 1996 and over 100,000 acres — to determine if existing boundaries are “well beyond the areas in need of protection” and to recommend possible changes to the monuments.

The Executive Order puts a bullseye on the Antiquities Act of 1906, an invaluable tool that has been used by Democratic and Republican presidents for more than a century to protect natural, historic and cultural sites across the country. The law has allowed for the preservation of iconic places like Grand Canyon and Acadia National Parks, and for places that have expanded the stories told in our national parks like Stonewall, César E. Chávez and Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monuments.

In addition to preserving some of America’s most majestic landscapes and important cultural history, national park sites drive significant economic activity for their local communities. In 2016, national park sites originally designated by the Antiquities Act contributed over $7.3 billion to the U.S. economy, more than $5.4 billion of which was spent in the local communities around the park sites. Downsizing or changing park designations, as this Executive Order aims to do, would have serious negative impacts on the U.S. economy.

Statement by Kristen Brengel, Executive Director of National Parks Action Fund:

“This Executive Order is a direct attack on our national parks and the value they bring to the lives of all Americans. The Trump administration is reviewing the worthiness of our historic, cultural and natural heritage. This is a sad day for all Americans – our conservation lands and history is on the chopping block.

“America’s national monuments are extraordinary places that are nationally significant historic, sacred, and conservation sites. An arbitrary review to remove protection for these sites is shortsighted and ill-conceived. For more than a century, presidents of both parties have used the Antiquities Act to preserve some of our most treasured sites. To politicize our public lands and threaten their very existence is a betrayal of our nation’s long conservation legacy, and to undermine the Antiquities Act will have a direct impact on future attempts to preserve federally owned public lands worthy of additional protections.”

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals.

Senate Confirms Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON – Below is a statement by National Parks Action Fund Executive Director Kristen Brengel following the Senate’s confirmation of Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to be the nation’s 52nd Secretary of the Interior.

“Today, the Senate voted to confirm Rep. Ryan Zinke as the 52nd Secretary of the Interior. As Secretary, Zinke will need to stand guard on behalf of our national parks, now more than ever. The challenges our parks face, including low funding, record visitation, and protecting park resources and wildlife, are often exacerbated by many members of Congress, who, despite declaring their support for America’s favorite places, routinely work to undermine them.

“Yellowstone, Everglades, and Gettysburg are places that need an advocate and strong ally to ensure their long-term protection. We are counting on Zinke to fight off attacks to drill for oil and gas near park borders. We are counting on him to stand up for the Endangered Species Act to protect park wildlife. We are counting on him to fight for more funding and staff to address parks’ $12 billion repair backlog.

“There will be tremendous pressure on him by some in Congress to not act on these very important issues, but as the Secretary of the Interior, Zinke has America’s public lands in his hands. During his confirmation hearing, Zinke described himself as a ‘Teddy Roosevelt’ Republican. In the spirit of that conservation legacy, we expect and look forward to working with him and Congress to ensure parks are protected and their rangers supported so they can continue providing the best possible experience to the visitors of America’s favorite places.”

 

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About National Parks Action Fund

National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals. Learn more at https://nationalparksaction.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:  September 28, 2016

CONTACT:  Angela Gonzales, Press Secretary, 202.419.3712, media@nationalparksaction.org

National Parks Action Fund Will Hold Candidates, Members of Congress Accountable on Parks Record

WASHINGTON – While most of Congress was quick to laud our national parks as they celebrated their centennial in August, nearly half of the elected officials regularly voted against parks during the 114th Congress. This is according to a first-of-its kind scorecard of Congress’s national parks voting record issued today by National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund).

The Action Fund, affiliated with National Parks Conservation Association, evaluated park-related votes taken by the House and Senate during the 114th Congress through the 2016 summer congressional recess. The scored votes included a variety of issues affecting parks, including clean water and wildlife protections, the president’s ability to protect new sites as national monuments and funding levels for the National Park Service.

“Just as national parks are the indicator of the health of our country’s water, air and wildlife, the votes lawmakers cast are the indicator of Congress’s willingness to protect America’s favorite places,” said National Parks Action Fund Chair Theresa Pierno. “It’s easy for members of Congress to say they love national parks, particularly ones in their home state. But the facts often tell a different story. A single vote can have a profound and lasting effect on our national parks. This scorecard brings to light whether their rhetoric matches their record.”

According to the scorecard:

  • 54% of House members and 47% of senators received an F
  • 34% (34 Senators and 146 House members) voted against parks 100% of the time
  • Eight full state delegations received F grades
  • 40% of lawmakers (43 Senators and 171 House members) voted for parks 100% of the time
  • 39% of House members and 43% of senators received an A
  • Seven full state delegations received A grades
  • In 17 states, both senators received F grades
  • In 16 states both senators received A grades

Most votes fell along party lines despite national parks long being a non-partisan issue.

“The scorecard’s clear partisan divide is a stark reminder of the deep political divide in Congress,” said Jane Lyder, a member of the Action Fund board who served in the Interior Department under both Republican and Democratic administrations. “It is extremely disappointing that the large majority of Republicans received a failing grade, particularly when past members of the party have been some of our country’s most important park champions. National parks should not be a Republican or Democratic issue. They are an American issue. We need lawmakers who will stand up and protect these places for future generations, just as they were protected for us.”

In the past, Republicans have been some of our parks’ biggest champions, including President Abraham Lincoln’s protection of what would become Yosemite in the midst of the Civil War, and President Richard Nixon’s approval of many of the environmental protections critical to preservation of national parks.

Despite all there is to celebrate with the National Park Service’s centennial this year, there has never been a more critical time for our national parks. Due to years of neglect by too many members of Congress, our parks need $12 billion in repairs and more rangers to care for them. This while many in Congress are actively working to prevent protections for park waterways and wildlife and to hamper our ability to preserve new places for future generations.

“As we prepare for the start of a new Congress next year, we hope members will think hard about the impact their votes have on America’s favorite places, and ensure each vote they take is a pro-park vote,” added Pierno. “In this centennial of the National Park Service, now is the time for them to commit to ensuring our national parks have the resources and support they need to continue protecting America’s favorite places. Our parks deserve no less.”

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the newly created 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:  May 12, 2016
CONTACT:  Amy Hagovsky, 202-454-3371, media@nationalparksaction.org

National Parks Action Fund Will Hold Members of Congress Accountable on Parks Voting Record

WASHINGTON – The nearly century-old nonprofit group National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today officially launched National Parks Action Fund, a newly formed 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization focused on grassroots political activism on behalf of America’s more than 400 national parks. The Action Fund will encourage voters to support those who stand up for national parks in Congress.

“Never has there been a more critical time for our national parks,” said NPCA President and CEO Theresa Pierno, who serves as chair of the Action Fund’s board. “The decisions being made by elected officials now will have profound effects on them well into the future. We want to make sure those decisions are the right ones for our national parks.  That means adequate funding from Congress, enough rangers on staff to look after the parks and educate the visitors, clean water and thriving wildlife. We need more champions in Congress who will stand up and fight for our national parks. Together with voters from across the country, we will hold elected officials accountable and make sure their rhetoric matches the reality.”

With more than 400 sites across the country, Americans have a lot to celebrate with the centennial of the National Park Service this year. But parks face many challenges that threaten their long-term preservation if action is not taken. While those challenges are wide and varied, the Action Fund will focus on four major threats facing our national parks: lack of adequate funding, too few rangers, and repeated attacks by Congress on protections for park waterways and wildlife.

The Action Fund, together with supporters from across the country, will work to ensure national parks are a national priority for elected leaders through activities such as voter education and the release of a legislative scorecard in early fall.

The other Action Fund board members are Victor Fazio,  former 10-term member of Congress and California State Assemblyman, currently a Senior Advisor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld;  Andrew Spielman, a leading public lands, environment and natural resources attorney at WilmerHale; and Jane Lyder, former Legislative Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior.

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About National Parks Action Fund
National Parks Action Fund (Action Fund) is the newly created 501(c)(4) of National Parks Conservation Association. The Action Fund’s fundamental goal is to protect, restore, and fund the National Park System by informing the public about threats facing our parks, educating members of Congress about proposals to help parks, and influencing candidates’ positions to forward those proposals.