The Corps Network Applauds Progress Towards Passage of National Park Service Centennial Legislation

Recently released draft legislation contains amendments that would benefit Public Lands Corps

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, December 2, 2015, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Act discussion draft. The draft, which was released last week by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), includes two provisions that would amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 by raising the allowable age for Corpsmembers from 25 to 30 and extending the federal noncompetitive hiring authority for Corpsmembers from 120 days to two years.

The purpose of the NPS Centennial Act is to prepare the Park Service for its 100th anniversary in 2016 and promote a second century of “protecting the natural, historic, and cultural resources of our National Parks for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” The legislation makes provisions for improving our public lands and enhancing recreational opportunities in National Parks. Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) previously introduced the National Park Service Centennial Act (H.R. 3556 & S.2257) which is based off of draft legislation developed by President Obama.

The two amendments to the Public Lands Corps Act included in the NPS Centennial Act discussion draft would directly benefit America’s Service and Conservation Corps: increasing the allowable Corpsmember age to 30 would give Corps the opportunity to engage more veterans, and extending the noncompetitive hiring authority would help graduating Corpsmembers transition into careers with the federal land management agencies. The Corps Network provided testimony for the hearing record in support of the provisions and urging passage of a bipartisan bill.

“The Corps Network’s 120 Service and Conservation Corps across the country applaud Chairman Bishop for promoting legislation in recognition of the National Park Service’s Centennial,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “We appreciate the recognition of the important role that Corps play in developing the next generation of diverse conservation leaders and providing service opportunities for our returning veterans. Passage of the Centennial Act, along with additional investments in NPS and its partners like our Corps, will ensure we have a skilled workforce of public lands stewards to manage our parks and natural resources for the next 100 years. We also thank Ranking Member Grijalva and Ranking Member Cantwell for introducing previous versions of the legislation, and President Obama for developing draft legislation. We look forward to working towards passage of a bipartisan bill that contains the Public Lands Corps amendments.”

Today’s hearing, entitled “Legislative Hearing on Discussion Draft of ‘National Park Service Centennial Act,’” featured testimony from Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service; David MacDonald, President of the Friends of Acadia; and John Nau, former Vice Chairman of the National Park Foundation Board of Directors.

The Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 made it possible for Corps to work with land management agencies, like the National Park Service, to perform maintenance and improvement projects on public lands where projects were not already being completed by federal employees. The goal of the legislation is to assist the land management agencies in maintaining our public lands in a cost-effective manner and to “expose young men and women to public service while furthering their understanding and appreciation of the Nation’s natural and cultural resources.”

 

 

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network provides strategic leadership and support to over 100 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps. Continuing the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, today’s Corps are comprehensive youth development programs that engage participants in meaningful service projects, job training, and academic programming.

Through advocacy, access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables over 23,000 Corpsmembers, ages 16-25, to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service. 

To learn more about The Corps Network, please visit www.corpsnetwork.org

Media Contact:

Hannah Traverse
The Corps Network
1275 K Street, NW - Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Email: htraverse@corpsnetwork.org