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Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-2) Votes to Ensure Funding for National Parks

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Alex X. Mooney voted in committee in favor of creating a ‘Centennial Challenge Fund,’ ensuring the continual improvement of our Nation’s parks by financing multiple park projects through matching private donations from organization partners. The fund will increase the spending authorization for the ‘National Park Service Volunteers in Parks’ program and will also make modifications to the ‘Public Land Corps’ program.

“Since the National Park Service was first created in 1916, Americans and individuals from across the globe have been able to experience our Nation’s natural beauty. As the proud Representative from the Second Congressional District of West Virginia, I am constantly in awe of the beautiful Appalachian Trail that runs through our state.  I have always been a proud supporter of emboldening our parks system to better maintain our Nation’s parks.  Thousands of people visit these parks each year and contribute greatly to our local economies,” said Rep. Alex X.  Mooney.  “I am proud to have voted today to create the ‘Centennial Challenge Fund,’ which will provide the parks system with the necessary upgrades and services that will continue to benefit the American people for years to come.”

August 25, 2016, will mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the National Park Service Organic Act. This Act created the National Park Services (NPS), the federal bureau within the Department of the Interior responsible for promoting and protecting our national parks and monuments. The National Park System has grown significantly since 1916, and it now comprises 410 units covering more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.

In 2015, America’s National Parks had a record-setting 305 million visits; however, when measured on a per capita basis, visitation has declined in recent decades. In addition to deferred maintenance projects, the NPS also faces challenges with fee collection, technological upgrades, and management of concessions contracts for visitor services.  This bill will help the NPS to maintain our Nation’s parks, increasing visits and ultimately benefiting the American economy.

Alex X. Mooney represents West Virginia’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Budget and Natural Resources Committees.