The Corps Network Applauds Progress on National Park Service Centennial Act in U.S. House of Representatives

Legislation would ammend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993, expand opportunities for Corps
WASHINGTON, DC – The Corps Network applauds last week’s progress in the United States House of Representatives on the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Act (H.R. 4680). The legislation passed the House Committee on Natural Resources and now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration. The bill contains two provisions that would amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 for the benefit of Corps.

The purpose of the NPS Centennial Act is to help the National Park Service observe its 100th anniversary in 2016 and prepare for “a second century of promoting and protecting the natural, historic, and cultural resources of our National Parks for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” The legislation is designed to help improve NPS properties and enhance recreational and volunteer opportunities at parks. The bill also establishes a National Park Centennial Challenge Fund to finance signature construction, maintenance and education projects by matching private contributions with federal dollars.

As for amendments to the Public Lands Corps act, the bill contains a provision to increase the maximum allowable age of Public Lands Corps participants from 25 to 30, as well as a provision to extend the noncompetitive hiring authority for Corps alumni from 120 days to two years. Respectively, these provisions would allow Corps to engage more veterans in public lands service; and create a pathway to employment with federal natural resource management agencies for young people who serve with a Public Lands Corps.

During committee markup on the NPS Centennial legislation, Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D- AZ) offered the Public Lands Service Corps (PLSC) Act as an amendment. While the amendment did not pass, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) pledged to work with Ranking Member Grijalva to hold a separate hearing about Corps in the future. Numerous members of the committee also highlighted the important work of Corps in their states.

“On behalf of the Service and Conservation Corps community, I thank Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva for their work on the National Park Service Centennial Act and for efforts to increase the engagement of youth and veterans in the maintenance of our public lands,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network. “We also thank Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Ryan Zinke (R-WY) for speaking favorably of Corps and the PLSC amendment during committee hearings. It is encouraging to see elected officials from both sides of the aisle come together to support legislation that will help train a diverse generation of skilled public lands stewards to care for our parks and forests for the next 100 years.”

In September, the NPS Centennial Act was introduced by Ranking Member Grijalva and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (H.R. 3556 & S.2257). The bill is based off draft legislation developed by the Obama administration.

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. 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.” The Public Lands Service Corps Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Ranking Member Grijalva (D-AZ), amends the Public Lands Corps Act to make a variety of improvements for Corps and create a new Indian Youth Service Corps. 

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network provides leadership and support to over 120 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps. 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.

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The Corps Network
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